If Wal-Mart is the center of the physical universe (which it is
), then Google is most definitely the center of the internet. There isn't anything that I can't find or learn within 5 minutes using the power of the almighty Google (I know I sound like a shill for Google, but I'm getting to a point, so hold your pants on
). One of the things I like aboot Google is their nice selection of handy-dandy search tools (such as define and link). I like them so much that I built a few of them into the next version of TaskRunner (in stores soon!!).
But by far, the neatest thing about Google is something I ran across a number of months ago, and the great thing is, it just got better...
I'm talking, of course, about Google Maps
. For years and years, we nerds were the few that were privy to the fact that you could look up pretty much any address/phone number/name on the net. More recently, when the "normal" people (I like to affectionately refer to them as "troglodytes") found out that someone could look up their phone number on the net, they freaked out and had a couple cows, and then finally got used to the fact that technology like that had been around since the dawn of time and they just came to accept it.
But even we nerds were subjected to using the likes of Mapquest and Yahoo! Maps to get our directions.... and then there was Google Maps. I still remember the day I found out about the beta version of GM... it was spring-time... birds were singing... the sun was shining in through the monstrous glass walls of my cold, foreboding office building, straight into my cubicle... I looked up an address, and lo-and-behold, it appeared in front of me with a nice big arrow pointing to the place on the map where my desired location was. I then clicked the screen to zoom in (since that's how it works on every other
map engine), and what do I find???? I can drag
the map around to move about from place to place.
Instead of having to click "east" or "west" and waiting for a server to refresh the map, I just yank that map in whatever direction I want and get the info that I so desperately need.
But the shock and awe did not stop there!! oh no, my friend... it went on and on! If I simply clicked a button at the top of the map called "Satellite", I could see the satellite image of the very area that was being currently displayed. And I could zoom in so far on the image, that I was able to see my house and my car and my friends' houses and my friends' cars and my work and my friends' work....s, and downtown Chicago and LA and Paris and the mountain that my parents live right next to in Afirca... (as you can tell, I spent a while on there, the day I found it).
But as with everything "technological", the novelty of a nifty new tool soon wore off. Yeah, I would still show my uninformed, troglodyte friends Google Maps whenever they came over, but it just wasn’t as exciting anymore... but Google, in its infinite wisdom, decided that Google Maps could be even better.... something.... more.... something... great
! And so they created "Hybrid View".
Because when you were viewing the map in Satellite mode, it was hard to pick out what was what unless there was an obvious landmark to use as a reference, and Hybrid view solves this problem. Now, when looking at a satellite view, Hybrid view will draw the city, interstate, and street names ON
the satellite image, right before your very eyes (oooooooooh). No more wondering, "Is that my
house, or the Dairy Queen?"... no more guessing games... all your questions can be answered by Hybrid view....
...will the wonders of Google ever cease? I think not, my friends.... I.... think... not.