Google Print, Firefox, Google Portal

A day off work today. A few quick things before I get on. Maybe more later…

  • Google Print is online. Had a quick play, looking for H.G. Wells’ The First Men on the Moon. Sadly that text is still under copyright so not all of it is available. Plenty of other classics are there in full though. Haven’t had a chance to see what options are available for printing – I am guessing that it is probably just an on screen thing.
  • Firefox has reached a 10% share of the browser market, according to ZDNet, linked to by John Naughton. This is good news, not least because the more people using FireFox means that they can’t be ignored, and web sites will have to start complying with standards to ensure their sites are displayed proplerly.
  • Google’s personalised portal is now released for the UK. Has a few new links for UK related stuff, like news and even the London Review of Books! Sadly, the UK-centric weather service focuses only on a select band of cities – the closest to me being Wolverhampton, which is almost completely useless!

Google Mail

Saw a strange thing on logging in to Gmail this morning:

google mail new logo

And here’s the explaination:

We have been involved in a dispute regarding the Gmail trademark in the UK. Another company has claimed rights to the Gmail name. We have tried to resolve this dispute through negotiations, but our efforts have failed.

We are still working with the courts and trademark office to protect our ability to use the Gmail name, but in the meantime, we want you to have an email address you can rely on.

The Gmail Team is dedicated to offering the best email service to our users. Our email service stays the same no matter what the logo is or what follows the @ symbol. This change lets our team focus their time on continuing to bring you excellent service.

What if I’m a UK user who already has a Gmail address? Will that address ever change?

Unfortunately, we don’t know. We would love to say that your address will always remain the same. But the trademark issue is still unsettled, and unfortunately, we cannot predict what the other party or the courts might do here. You can always use your same username with an @googlemail.com address to avoid this issue later on. But trust that we will do the best we can to make sure your email address won’t ever have to change.

I immediately invited myself back to Gmail (or Google mail, or whatever) and tried to register davebriggs@googlemail.com and couldn’t, so obviously the last sentance is true.

Still, this is very confusing. Why didn’t they just call it Google Mail in the first place?

Google Reader

Reader is the new RSS aggregator from Google. And I am rather sorry to say that it is rubbish.

It uses a lot of the java technology that works so well on Gmail, and alright on the personalised home page. But Reader just seems unfinished to me – no make that barely even started. Fair enough, it is in beta, but it is genuinely more-or-less unusable.

It does allow you to import an OPML file of your subscriptions with another aggregator, so I did this with my large collections of feeds from FeedDemon. This process took a long time, which I guess is fair enough. But the problem is that it doesn’t keep the categories, so you just end up with this mind-numbingly long list of feeds to browse through.

edit: it does in fact retain the categories, but not in the default ‘Reader’ screen.

The browsing through itself is absurd, as from my brief play last night, you have to scroll through your feeds in a tiny little window using little buttons that give a lovely smooth scrolling effect but which take forever to actually get anywhere.

I think this tool needs a lot of work before it even comes close to services like BlogLines.

Google / Sun Announcement

So, the announcement has been made and it is kinda vague at the moment.

Today, Sun creates yet another important relationship to add to our growing momentum. In an all-star alliance announced today, Sun and Google have begun a strategic relationship to promote and distribute their trail-blazing technologies. As part of the agreement, Sun will include the Google Toolbar as an option in downloads of the Java Runtime Environment from Java.com, Sun’s showcase and portal for Java technology enthusiasts and developers. The new functionality will be available soon.

In keeping with this precedent-setting relationship, executives from Sun and Google broadcast the agreement from the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, the world’s largest museum for preserving and presenting the history and influence of the computing revolution.

Watch the press conference Webcast.

“As a leader in free and open source software, Sun has long recognized that network innovation is vital to the evolution of the global economy,” said Scott McNealy, chief executive officer, Sun Microsystems. “Working with Google will make our technologies available more broadly, increase options for users, lower barriers, and expand participation worldwide.”

Java Momentum Good for Google

Java is one of the most recognized and respected technology brands in the world. Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, Java technology is everywhere and supports a $100 billion market.

Due to the popularity of Java on the desktop, downloads of Java have more than doubled year over year, reaching 20 million per month–and now users can also get the Google Toolbar. With the Java download and the Google Toolbar, users worldwide can benefit from the technology that is powering a new wave of Internet growth–and participate in its opportunities.

Trailblazing Technologies

Sun and Google are leaders in the new economy and at the forefront of the Participation Age. Users and developers alike are drawn to Sun and Google because of their embrace of sharing and innovation.

“Each company is blazing new trails with their technology and commitment to participation and open standards,” says Mark Herring, Sun director of Java Brand and Community Marketing. “The collaboration between these two powerhouses is a milestone for the industry. By working together, Sun and Google are ushering in a new era of dynamic, interactive technology solutions.”

Only the Beginning

The distribution of Java and the Google Toolbar underscores Google’s advocacy of Java technology. Google is a member of the Java Community Process (JCP) executive council and actively participates in shaping the next generation of the Java platform as part of expert groups for Java Specification Requests.

The agreement between Sun and Google also kicks off further collaboration between the companies on projects like OpenOffice.org, the open source productivity suite that is the world’s leading suite on the Solaris Operating System (Solaris OS) and Linux–and the leading alternative suite on Microsoft Windows.

“Google has long been part of the Java technology ecosystem, and today’s announcement highlights this relationship,” says Herring. “Sun is pleased to be working even more closely with a company that also values innovation and breaking down barriers. The agreement is the next big step in a great partnership.”

The bit I have underlined is the interesting bit for me. I wonder when this might become a reality? The speed at which Google has been knocking out products recently, it would not surprise me if this happened pretty soon.

Google Office to be announced today?

Looks like some sort of announcement will be imminent.

An online office suite is a very smart move by Google – whilst it couldn’t be as fully featured as the current version of OpenOffice.org, let alone MS Office, for the majority of users what would be on offer would be more than enough.

  • Here’s where the webcast of the announcement will take place.
  • Here’s a link to the relevant Tachnorati search

Google plans?

Great article in PC Plus this month about Google’s plans to take over the world, kinda. There has been much speculation across the net about the fact that Google have headhunted a couple of Microsoft staff, been very cozy with the Mozilla people and have registered the gbrowser.com URL.

The article speculates that if Google were to develop a browser, it could then use this to create a whole online computer environment. They already offer mail, websearch, news, usenet, blogging and image handling. The addition of a browser would make further technology possible – perhaps a word processor/spreadsheet app that runs online, some kind of personal information manager – gmail already offers a very comprehensive contacts section – and a music search, and everything you need on a day to day basis would be available online, from any machine, whether Windows, Mac, Linux, or a handheld.

Google – Good or evil?

I have always been a fan of Google – and that’s not just the websearch. I use their email system, their mailing list groups, and of course Blogger, which is now owned by Google.

I’d never given much thought to the way that the company operates, generally believing that they aren’t evil, as they claim so proudly. But a couple of links might have made me think a little more about it:

Google Watch and Gmail is too Creepy.