Thursday, March 29, 2007

Zoom Into Google Maps

Here's a neat little Google Maps trick. To zoom in further than is allowed normally in satellite view, zoom in as far as you can and then click the Link to This Page link. When the URL appears, replace the "z" parameter with a higher value -- 20, 21, 22, or something similar. When the page reloads, you may see a closer zoom -- or not, depending on how detailed the available satellite map is. It's worth trying!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Real Time Flight Info on Your Cell Phone

Now you can text message Google and receive real-time flight info from Just send a text message to 466453 (GOOGLE) containing your flight number; Google will text back the status of your flight.

Google Mobile Search Updated

Google has updated the functionality of its Google Mobile search. The homepage for your cell phone has been simplified (fewer clicks to the info you want) and the results have been refined for more relevancy. Check it out here.

New Applications in Google Pack

If you're a fan of the Google Pack bundle, know that it now includes Norton Security Scan (to detect and remove viruses) and PC Tools' Spyware Doctor Starter Edition (to detect and remove spyware). Also updated is the Google Pack screensaver, now with support for photo feeds from various photo-sharing sites. Download it here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Personalized Homepage Themes

Google is now offering several new background themes for its personalized homepage. For the longest time, the look and feel of the page was the only thing you couldn't personalize; now you can choose from a half-dozen themes. The themes are "active," in that they change over the course of the day, depending on the time of day. Check 'em out!

Plus Box in Search Results

Here's something new you might find in selected Google searches. Look for a big "+" icon next to your results. Click the "plus box," as Google calls it, and the results expand to show related information. It's more results from the same search page.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Version of Google Desktop

Google just released a beta Google Desktop 5. This new version features visual and operational improvements to the Sidebar and Gadgets, as well as an in-browser search results preview. Check it out here.

Multi-Step Directions in Google Maps

Google Maps has finally added a long-awaited, quite valuable feature, also recently added to Yahoo! Maps: Multiple-step directions. This means you can plan a multi-stop trip (point A to point B to point C), instead of merely going from point A to point C with no stops in-between. Just create directions from your starting point to your first stop, then click the Add a Destination link and enter your second stop, Keep clicking the Add a Destination link to create more complex trips and directions.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Google Maps Adds Live Traffic Data

Here's something real cool. Google Maps, in both the desktop and mobile versions, now offers live traffic data for over 30 cities. Just call up a map and then click the Traffic button; major roads now appear as green (smooth), yellow (busy), or red (congested). You can even overly the traffic data on the satellite and hybrid views. And on interstate highways, you get the green/yellow/red separately for lanes in both directions! I find this especially useful when I'm on the go, and can check Google Maps via Google Mobile on my cell phone.