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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google sues Interior Department

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

An article in this morning’s New York Times reports that Google is suing the Department of Interior for violating the Competition in Contracting Act by considering only Microsoft email and collaboration software products for its 88,000 employees, and not Google Apps.

with a suit filed Friday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Google is attempting to block the department from buying any of the Microsoft software until it allows competitive bidding. Google Apps are cloud-based tools. In July, the company came out with Google Apps for government, which passed federal security standards.

Google Claims U.S. Excluded It From Contract The New York Times November 2, 2010

SketchUp 8 includes access to all of Google’s geospatial data

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Google SketchUp 8 was announced at Google’s user conference 3D Basecamp held in Boulder, Co. last week.


The released focuses on the following features: 


Some very straightforward access from within the modeling interface for SketchUp to all of Google’s geospatial data. “For an architect, we can give you a very comprehensive site model for any project you’re working on almost anywhere in the world,” said product manager John Bacus. “Obviously some areas have better data coverage than others, but we’re able to give SketchUp modelers direct access to Google’s aerial photography collection. We also have launched a new data service that provides high resolution terrain directly into the SketchUp modeler for almost any location on earth.”


Modelers have access to any 3D building models for adjacent buildings to a site they might be working on. Most of these models are coming from other SketchUp users, said Bacus. “For the last four and a half years or so, the SketchUp team has been working on building systems for users to make models of 3D buildings and now we’re able to give those back to the SketchUp modeling community in the form of site models, context models.and we also can give users access to streetview data for use in site reference or directly as photographic texturing for their models.”


The Building Maker app which was launched previously, gives people an easy modeling interface for buildng low rez photographically textured 3D buildings in places where Google had collected aerial oblique imagery, a birdseye type of view of a city. “We’re able to drag polygons on top of photography and do a kind of lightweight photogrammetry to figure out the precise dimensions of any building,” said Bacus. “In SketchUp 8 we’ve made that into a kind of feature in the modeler so you can bring up a window inside the main SketchUp interface and make a quick massing model for an existing building. Google will automatically texture it for you and send it back directly into the active SketchUp model in its proper scale and goelocation. For those users who want to start in Building Maker for a model, we also have a way to convert Building Maker models into SketchUp models. We’ve added a couple of new tools that make it easy to take the primitive massing model from Building Maker and add detail to it, clean up some of the messy geometry and add higher quality textures etc. The data is all freely available.”


SketchUp 8 also has a whole new set of modeling tools for people with experience in other 3D modeling packages. They include a simple set of Boolean modeling tools, which allow users to do unions and subtractions, trims and splits. The geometry model makes it possible to  now do objects that do volumes, so users can actually report the volume of collections of geometry in the SketchUp model. “If users are doing things like complex concrete form work, we can give them a pretty good first order estimation of the volume of concrete they’re going to need, so they can do a little more analysis on the model in that way,” said Bacus.


Google data collection meets with investigation

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

StreetView, Google’s photo-mapping service, was in the news this week as a judge in Spain opened an investigation into whether Google collected data from unsecured wireless networks unlawfully while assembling photographs for StreetView.


This may be a continuing chapter in the story of “Who Owns Data?” A representative of Google was ordered to appear before the judge, Raquel Fernandino, in early October over a lawsuit filed by a Spanish association of Internet users. The summons was issued last month, but made public only this week.

Street View has been in the news in other European countries that have strict privacy laws, including Germany and Switzerland, causing regulatory and legal problems for Google. In Hamburg this May, a judge opened a criminal investigation of Google over its collection of data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in Germany.

Google Sued in Spain Over Data Collecting by Raphael Minder, August, 17, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)

New online mapping tool for U.S. Census Bureau

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

“With mail-out of the 2010 Census forms less than one month away, the U. S. Census Bureau unveiled a new online mapping tool that allows communities nationwide to prepare for the 2010 Census by seeing how well they did mailing back their 2000 Census forms.

Visitors to the new Google-based map will be able to find the 2000 Census mail participation rates for states, counties and cities, as well as smaller areas called “census tracts.” After the 2010 Census forms are mailed out in mid-March, the online map will be updated to include a tracking tool with daily updates of the 2010 Census mail participation rates for local areas across the nation. Users will be able to compare their 2010 Census progress using their 2000 Census rates as a benchmark..”

–from the press release March 3, 2010

Battle of the mapping giants at the Olympics

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

It would seem that Google and Microsoft have been vying for mapping airtime during the Olympics in Vancouver. According to a CNET article, “Google has been featuring Olympic-themed doodles on its home page, while Bing is featuring Olympic-themed photos as its background, with the images rotating several times a day. Microsoft can also tap the fact it is helping power NBC’s Olympics Web site through MSN, giving it access to quite a bit of content from the Games….

Bing Maps has a special Olympics page that lets visitors see medal charts and click on a country to see how its athletes are faring. Meanwhile, Microsoft has also updated Vancouver with new street-side imagery and made it one of three cities (along with Seattle and San Francisco) in which it is trying out new features, such as Flickr integration”

For its part, Google features an interactive schedule, with links to medal results, news, and the venues. To get additional imagery for its maps program, Google augmented its usual fleet of cars with Street View photos captured by snowmobile.

Vancouver Sun reporter Jeff Lee has been covering the preparation for the Games since 2003.

His Vancouver map, created on top of Google Maps, has pin points for everything from the venues, to public events, national pavilions, and public transit stops and road closures.”

Olympics notebook: Mapping the Vancouver Games by Ina Fried, CNET

Great product, but where’s the help?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

“Google’s celebrated algorithms may power the Web’s most popular search engine, but they have not yet been programmed to answer a call when a customer has a problem.”

The New York Times, January 13, 2010

Owners of the new Nexus One touch screen smartphone from Google are complaining that they can’t call the company for help and the company warns that it may take up to 48 hours to respond to emails.

Google announces Nexus One

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Google is set to launch its first own-brand mobile phone today. It includes a five-megapixel camera and is lighter and thinner than Apple’s iPhone, according to press reports.

The Nexus One is the first smart phone designed by the company’s own engineers and is expected to be unveiled at a press conference at its headquarters in California.

Unlike other mobile phones, it will be available from Google itself, allowing customers to use the network of their choice.

The launch of the Nexus is seen as Google’s latest bid to promote the Android operating system which it designed in 2007 and which is already used on other phones, including Motorola’s Milestone.

Track H1N1 with a new iPhone App

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Outbreaks Near Me,” a new iPhone application, created by researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, gives users the opportunity to track outbreaks of infectious diseases such as H1N1 (Swine Flu) in real time. The power of the online resource HealthMap, is behind the application, which collects, filters, maps and disseminates information about emerging infectious diseases. The application offers contextualized data of a user’s location and can pinpoint outbreaks that have been reported near the user. Users can search for additional information on outbreaks or individual occurrences by location or by disease.

Outbreaks Near Me was developed with support from and is available at no cost for download in the iTunes App Store.

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