Friday, December 28, 2007

Google Now Talks to AIM

This is something we've been anticipating for quite some time now. Google and AOL have now connected their Google Talk and AIM instant messaging networks. The only caveat is that you have to use the chat function in Gmail instead of the freestanding Google Talk program, but that's probably the most common version of Google's IM anyway. When you log into Gmail Chat, you can now sig into your AIM account and talk to all your AIM buddies, easy as pie.

New Terrain Layer in Google Maps

Google Maps now includes a new Terrain layer that combines the regular street maps with information about the surrounding terrain. Also new are street level photos for several new cities, including Minneapolis and Indianapolis.

Google Maps for Mobile Knows Where You Are

There's a new feature in the version of Google Maps for mobile phones, called My Location. Using either your phone's built-in GPS function (if your phone has built-in GPS, that is) or triangulation from the nearest cell phone tower, My Location lets you highlight where you are on the onscreen map. Just press the 0 key and look for a blue dot -- that's you!

New Google Video Homepage

The repositioning of Google Video continues. The new Google Video homepage now focuses on trends and rankings, with a new section for "hot videos" that includes the most blogged, most shared, and most viewed videos. Check it out!

Share Google Reader Items with Friends

Google is getting more social. Case in point: Google Reader now automatically subscribes to the list of shared items from your Google Talk friends list. Your friends will also see your shared items, but you can remove those you don't want to read your favorite posts.

Search for Faces with Google Image Search

Here's a new advanced search option for Google Image Search. Go to the Advanced Search page and select Faces in the content types section. This restricts your searches to images that include faces only, using Google's proprietary face recognition technology. It's a great way to limit your image searches for pictures of people!

Play Videos from Google Universal Search Results

You probably know that Google now displays links to videos on its search results page, thanks to the new universal search features. But did you know that you can play most videos directly from this page, without linking to the video first? Just look for a Watch Video link in the video description; click this link to play the video.