MSN …ehr… Live Local Virtual Earth 3D (Beta)

Local Live Virtual Earth 3D Apparently it’s live. A 3D extension to the map search of live.com which lets you fly through their maps like a bird.

Local Live Virtual Earth 3D Apparently it’s live. A 3D extension to the map search of live.com which lets you fly through their maps like a bird.

Of course I wanted to:

See brand new, amazing 3D views that make using maps more exciting than ever.

No need to tell you this is IE 6/ IE 7 only. But a few install screens down the road I got the warning that my locale wasn’t supported. Argh… couldn’t that particular piece of detection not be done in advance? Or let me install anyway so I could view the skylines of US-only cities?

Thus for the moment no ‘review’, but there are plenty to be found around the web. Although I wouldn’t want to call it a ‘Google Earth killer‘ yet.

Oh and BTW: Why does Live.com keeps thinking I understand Spanish?

Who’s using the Search Bar anyway?

While browsing to Yahoo! this bar on top struck me. Click to enlarge:

Firefox Search Bar promotion by Yahoo

Apparently Yahoo! is promoting the Search Bar, which is standard issue in Firefox. Guess they want us to change the default Google setting. πŸ˜‰

This in turn made me think of the times I used that Search Bar. Probably once, the first time I installed Firefox.
Normally if I want to do a search I hit CTRL+T (new tab) and call up my homepage, which still is the Firefox branded Google homepage. (BTW, ALT+HOME gets you to the homepage.)
It’s an old habit. And you know what they say about old habits…

But thanks to Yahoo! who reminded that there was such a thing as the Search Bar. I’m wondering if and how I can remove it. πŸ™‚

In other news:

Exploring the earth from your couch, part 2

Imagine yourself sitting down on your couch in front of your television, as usual. A drink in one hand, the TV remote in the other. Don’t worry, the chips are within reach. Within the press of a button, or two. You spin up a three dimensional globe and with the directional buttons on your remote you ‘cruise’ around the earth. Occasionally zooming in to street-level (provided a plane taking off from O’Hare isn’t blocking your view.) and back up again.

Maybe check out the beach of your next vacation spot? Or the surf? Maybe find out where ‘Moldavia’ is located, if it really exists…? Show your holiday photos from Florida superimposed on a map, to your inlaws? Brag about how you developed altitude sickness going up ‘this’ mountain? Or take a look at some impact craters? Or…

Virtual Earth on a Media Center PC (Sean McLeod)

Well, Sean McLeod pulled it off, sort off. If you own a Media Center PC and are willing to do so some ‘hackery’ stuff. You could be viewing the earth in its full satelite glory from your couch for real. (Judging from the pic above.)

Now, I don’t own a Media Center PC, Front Row capable Mac, TV-Set Top box nor any other TV-enabled device. (Yes a laptop could be attached to a tv, but where’s the remote…) But if you think about it. Wouldn’t that be ‘swell’…
Maybe Google should consider porting Google Earth to XBox or Playstation?

IMHO, we won’t be seeing the last of this!
Internet on a TV sucked, big time, because TV’s aren’t meant to be read off. They’re meant to be viewing pictures at a rate of 25 or 30 frames a second. Thus, viewing satelite images of your neighbourhood, on your TV, with you in control of the view… Excellent!

Thanks to James @ Spatially Adjusted. (Part 1 is over here)

Google Personalised Homepage getting more personal

What live.com didn’t deliver is what Google is taking a step further already. A Google Personalised Homepage in your native language with ‘local’ information sources.

‘Aboot’ the announcement:

While Seattle’s pretty close, I’d prefer to have the actual weather for Victoria — and have it in Celsius. Now I can, because today we expanded the personalized homepage to 16 new regions: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, UK, and ahem, Canada.

BTW: wasn’t this formerly called Google Fusion?

Windows Live Beta. Don’t bother…

Windows Live Beta LogoAs the rest of the world is doing right now, I was going to drop my two cents on the new Windows Live Beta. But in this context Beta means Broken. Severely! It doesn’t work in Firefox, but worse, it also borks in IE.

If you ask me, it’s a rush job. Because the hotshots already had their little get-together planned. I can imagine a ‘Live Team’ developer’s first reaction: “They are going to do WHAT?!?!?!? %@^&%@$”. (Probably not far from the truth. ;-))

Just take a look at start.com and than at the all new launched live.com. See any familiarity?
That’s because they are, in fact, the same. Take a look at the page source… Hello Atlas. Looks like someone just did a ‘find & replace’.

So if I may roundup the current state:

  1. start.com = live.com = google fusion = my yahoo. A.k.a. a ‘portal solution’. I’m not up for this niche, but some might.
    Note the footer of start.com: this site is not an officially supported site. it is an incubation experiment and doesn’t represent any particular strategy or policy. Aha!
  2. As a plus you could, as a ‘customer’, build upon Windows Live with ‘gadgets‘.
  3. Scott doesn’t get it. As does Mark. But according to Robert this isn’t about just the portal. Its about search.msn.com, or how live.com is going to be the new Microsoft search. And a Microsoft ‘Adsense’. And webmail. And an online virusscanner. And …
    Someone found out that DNS changes aren’t accomplished ad-hoc and/or building a portal upon MSN Search with all the ‘Kahoona’ is not going to happen any time soon. (IMHO: overdemanding people who control the money and time… you cannot live without them… :-()
  4. There’s also an Office Live. More nothingness.
  5. There’s a new messenger. Windows Live Messenger. As if the confusion between Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger wasn’t enough.

IMHO: Rounding up the roundup. Live is the new XP. It’s a marketing word. Everyone keep their pants on. We won’t be seeing anymore of it this year. Maybe in 2006. My guess it’ll be all revealed at launch-time of Windows Vista.

So there you’ll have it. My two euro-cents… πŸ™‚

Google Blogsearch & Webfeeds

At first look there are no orange XML/RSS chicklets in Google Blogsearch. But if you look at the bottom of the page just above the pagination there’s this line where you can subscribe to either an Atom or RSS feed for the search results.

E.g.: “Thinklemon” search results in Atom and “Thinklemon” search results in RSS.

This is great stuff for some ‘egosurfing‘. πŸ™‚ But I have to give it to MSN Search. As a search engine they were there first.
If it weren’t for Firefox’s Live Bookmarks I would just have missed this option.

Update: It seems that the feeds are ordered by relevance per default. You’ll need to sort your results on date first (top right) and then subscribe to get a feed ordered on post date.

Just a thought.

The present: Most people come to you via a search engine (probably through Google, although Yahoo! is on the return). Some people come via Technorati, Bloglines or other RSS feed engine. And some are family, friends, co-workers, affiliates, … the people you meet in real life. All 6 of them. πŸ˜‰

Given the state of current search engines, they’re stumbling over one another for the largest and fastest index, and the state of the ‘distributed web’ via RSS services (*cough web 2.0*). Does it really matter whether your site is in ‘shape’, a.k.a. designed? What matters these days is crawlability and indexability. In fact with add-ons like GreaseMonkey you cannot even be sure that your visitors will see what you’ve intended. Shuther to think what you’ll break when you update your site for someone running a GreaseMonkey script.

The future: Here’s my thought. What if? I’ll just revert to HTML 2.0. Google & Co understands it very well. And instead of chronological blogging or filling my web space, I’ll just put up thoughts and keep on writing on them totally visibly for you.

Hold up. That’s called a wiki!

Yes. πŸ™‚ But think of it. What’s so different from a blog? Blog (and forum) people put up ‘updated’-tags in their posts to signal a change. So what if I don’t have to care about that? I’m thinking cross-over wiki/weblog. Just let me write, note, jot, expand, figure out, take a sidestep, draw, video-tape it or just delete. And you, my audience, all 6 of you, could comment in the proceedings? You know, just like a weblog. You’re probably saying OPML? No, from what I’ve seen it’s not what I want.

Come to think of it. It’s much like building your own personal Wikipedia, pinging around whenever I press a button (feeds), having a sitemap so search engines (G. Sitemaps) are filled with their hunger, put up an OPML to keep mister Winer happy, put up a webservice/API so every webdeveloper can rehash my content on their mobile, … Who cares about my site? It’s about distributing it.

Like I said, just a thought.

Talk Digger – Blogpost Metasearch

Talk Digger is a (beta) service that let’s you search for your blogposts instantaneously in the likes of Bloglines, Technorati, BlogPulse, PubSub, Icerocket, Feedster, BlogDigger, MSN Search and Google. It returns the number of occurrences with details on click and a trend. You can use a bookmarklet, enter a URL or make a direct link.

Try it for yourself or see the result for this post (probably none ;-)).

MSN Virtual Earth Beta

MSN SearchMSN could not stay behind longer so they released their own Google Maps called MSN Virtual Earth. Both can display maps and/or satellite imagery. Both offer ‘local search’. Both use somewhat of the same navigation tools. But IMHO it’s not the ‘Google killer’ yet, but see for yourself.

Pizza in Redmond: Virtual Earth vs. Google Maps
Pubs in Baltimore: Virtual Earth vs. Google Maps

Notice that Virtual Earth does not automatically center itself on search results. It’s quite annoying, having to pan & zoom manually and in the process having your resultset re-updated.

BTW: They both use NAVTEQ maps. Although, MSN’s has a copyright of 2004. Are they using older maps than Google?
Oh and Europe is still ‘Terra Incognito’ …

Thanks Webdrain as I completely missed the news yesterday. πŸ˜‰