Googleholic for September 7, 2008
Welcome to Googleholic, your weekly fix of everything Google!
In this, "Happy 10th anniversary, Google" edition:
- A decade of Google
- Germany hates Google Chrome
- Picasa and Picasa Web Albums get updated
- Gmail code base updated for IE 6
- Google tips for testing on all browsers
- Google launches its own satellite
A decade of Google
On September 7, 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin formally incorporated Google Inc. in a friend's garage in Menlo Park, California. Ten years later, the company has a market capitalization of approximately $160 Billion US, employs nearly 20,000 full-time workers and is generally considered one of the most important technology companies in the world. I first remember using Google in 1999, back when it powered Yahoo! and Netscape's search results. It wasn't long before I decided to cut out the middle-man and just use Google directly.
The history of Google has been widely covered, and I have no intention of re-treading the same stories and histories, but it is still fascinating to look back. This was Google.com on November 11, 1998 (the day before my 16th birthday!). The Google prototype running on Stanford's servers looks both antiquated and yet also familiar.
Whether you love, hate or are ambivalent towards the company, it is impossible to deny the power and influence Google has had on the world of technology and the Internet as a whole. Happy anniversary Google!
Germany hates Google Chrome
We might be smitten by Google Chrome, but the German government sure isn't. According to Blogoscoped, a prominent German prime time newscast reported that Germany's Federal Office for Information Security has issued a warning against Google's new Chrome browser. Apparently the German government takes issue with Chrome's unfinished nature and that so much "user data is hoarded with a single vendor." Blogoscoped's Philipp Lenssen has not been able to find the warning on the federal office's homepage, but the report came from what I gather is a respected German news source.
The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has expressed its concerns about the data obtained and stored by Chrome's Omnibox.
[via Google Blogoscoped]
Picasa and Picasa Web Albums get updated
Chrome wasn't the only big Google product news this week, Picasa was given some love too. On Tuesday, the public beta for Picasa 3.0 was released. You can read about all the new features and changes here. The big additions are automatic web album syncing, so changes you make to your photos are automatically synced with the web, new retouch options and the ability to create movies and preview images with the Picasa Photo Viewer.
The Picasa application is for Windows computers only, but Picasa Web Albums is available for Mac and Linux users, and it has received an overhaul too! You can now tag the people who appear in your photographs, for better organization and easier sorting. You can also e-mail photos from your mobile phone and Picasa Web Albums now supports Creative Commons licensing. Granted, these features have been available in Flickr for as long as I can remember, but it's nice that Picasa is trying.
[via Google Photos Blog]
Gmail code base updated for IE 6
If you are one of the unlucky souls still forced to use Internet Explorer 6, either because of corporate requirements or an old operating system, your Gmail experience just got a whole lot better. When Google rewrote the Gmail code base last October, updating the user interface and adding features like colored labels, AIM integration, and Gmail Labs, IE 6 users were left out because the features required features that a browser built in 2001 just couldn't support.
[via Official Gmail Blog]
Google tips for testing in all browsers
One of the biggest questions web developers and designers had in the liveblog last week was about testing page compatibility for Chrome support. In theory, if it works in WebKit (Safari), it should work in Chrome, but as Chrome is still developing, this might not always be the case (the goal is to make Chrome 100% WebKit compliant).
Google's Webmaster Central Blog posted some great tips for making sure the pages you design work across browsers. While this might be common sense for the more seasoned developer, it's always good to have a reminder of some of the fundamentals.
While having code that validates doesn't it any better than code that doesn't, it is an important part of the testing and debugging process and can help thwart and identify problems, regardless of browser type.
Google launches its own satellite
Further fueling the Google IS Big Brother conspiracy theories, Google has launched its own high resolution imaging satellite. According to the Associated Press, the satellite has the highest resolution of any commercial imaging system. It's apparently powerful enough to capture home plate on a baseball diamond from orbit.