Use the Google

My life revolves around Google quite a bit lately. Whenever I open up a browser, I'm in my own little Googlized world. My personalized homepage is complete with the current weather outside, quick submit links for ebay and wikipedia, quick links various websites, news feed from digg.com, and the Gmail gadget and Google Reader gadget. When Firefox opens up, i've automatically checked my mail and all my RSS feeds. It's pretty handy when you don't want extra programs running in the background.

Thanks to Google Reader, I now know that kotaku.com is FAR faster at getting video games news to the Internets than Jostiq.com, most of the time.
My personalized homepage is also pimpin' with the Japanese fox theme, even though i'm pretty sick of it now. Google is also pretty handy on my phone, when I'm not at work or home. My personalized homepage is just as easy to access, so i can still get my mail and my news. Google Maps is pretty slick on my phone, too.

Speaking of which, Google Maps made some pretty slick upgrades recently. Besides new Satellite photos, you can save your own 'maps' and easily import and export from Google Earth. I made a quick map of points that those studying abroad might be interested in knowing ahead of time. Just a couple basic areas. I'll probably make another map that works with my Games List a little better than my current solution. These maps can be saved as a KML file, which loads directly into Google Earth.

If you haven't played around with Google Earth, it's free for download. Just go to earth.google.com. Google Earth is a 3 dimensional atlas of the world. You start up far above the earth, and can zoom into anywhere you'd like. The surface of the earth is skinned with the same Satellite images from Google Maps and works similarly. When you get closer to the ground, the details of Earth become more clear.. The satellite images are high enough quality most of the time that you can see buildings, cars, and houses quite distinctly, just like Google Maps.

However, Google Earth can do far more than that. Google Earth also renders terrain and buildings in 3D. You can tilt the view to get a good grasp of what the area actually looks like. Here's the Nagasaki area:

Google Earth streams all these images and information in real time, so it takes up very little space on you computer. Though, it does load all its' cache into memory, which doesn't make it very light weight.

Google Earth also has links to Wikipedia, Google Earth communities, and Panoramio: a community photograph repository. People from around the world, can upload their photos and input coordinates on where their picture was taken. Each month, Google grabs all the new information from Panoramio and hooks it into Google Earth.

Yesterday, i finally decided to make my own Panoramio account and start uploading photos. I went through pictures #10000 through #17000 on my camera. Basically, the time i was in Japan and the summer before hand.

Here's my account: http://www.panoramio.com/user/449013




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