Earlier this year, the fine people at Google shared an automatically-created "Timeline" of my travels based on Google Maps and the location tracking via my Android device. There's lots of worth-while discussion about technology and privacy, but I think this is a pretty good use case for using the technology and information that you personally create by navigating the world into something interesting - and very personal. I've posted about this recap in the past - here's the version that I shared in early 2021 that covered my COVID year including the 'stay at home' days . There's a SHARP contrast between Jan and Feb and the rest of the year that the data shows. What about 2022? We did a little travel and I was back in the office more than in 2021. Here's a few looks at the data below. First...modes of travel. Walking vs. Driving vs. Transit. Very little walking in January and February. That's interesting. Similarly...though...driving wa
Showing posts with the label google+
I received this note from Google Local Guides telling me that one of my photos on Google Maps has hit 6M views. It is of this pet store in Naperville that I posted back in 2016. I've been chronicling my Google Local Guides experience over time here on the blog . The last time I looked at the stats was back in May of 2018 when I had 4M OVERALL photo views . Before that, in February of 2017, I was at 2.5M views . So, this one photo has 6M views alone. And, when I went to look at my overall views, I'm now at 15M photo views. That's 4X growth in 32 months.
This arrived in the mail to help me turn my phone into a little stand-up display and push me into the future with wireless charging. But the biggest issue I've come across with being a *real* wireless charging user? Driving. Yeah. Driving. That's because we have those little car dashboard vent magnetic mounts that require you to slide a little metal plate under your case. Then you just kind of 'pop' your phone on the mount and it keeps it out our your hands and allows you to use turn-by-turn directions without fumbling around with your phone. The issue? If I put the metal plate in the middle of the back of the phone, the wireless charging via the Google Pixel Stand here doesn't work. If I take the plate out, then I don't get to pop my phone on the dash while we drive. A few weeks in, it seems that I'm choosing the convenience of the magnetic plate over the wireless charging on the stand. Anybody solve this dilemma?
There I was, perusing the ice cream novelty section over at the Westmont Mariano's when I see a little box on one of the shelves. It couldn't be? Could it? It's-it? For real? Here in the Midwest? Sure enough! I grabbed a box and scurried to the checkout line. Proud of myself for bringing home this sweet treat. When I got home, I showed them off to Natalie who wasn't as impressed as I was with myself. These are more than novelties. To me. They put me in a specific place. In a specific time in my life. There's only one place that I have ever had It's-It ice cream sandwiches: the main Google cafeteria from 2007 to 2013. Back in the childless days of our lives, Nat came out to Mountain View with me and (apparently) ate at the Google Cafeteria. Because she remembers having an It's-It then. This box is a three pack and it is outrageously priced. But, time and place transportation isn't cheap, right? So, am I the last to know that
I've posted about my participation in the Google Local Guides program where you provide reviews, ratings and photos of local businesses and places. I've been doing it for a couple of years and have hit a few milestones along the way. This week, Google emailed me this note you see above: my photos have been viewed 4M times. Yeah...four million. That's crazy, but with Google's scale, I guess it shouldn't be surprising. In February of 2017, I shared the previous milestone: 2.5M photo views . So, it took me 14 months or so to get the next 1.5M views. In March of 2016, I hit "Level 4" on the platform . Today, I'm a "Level 7". And guess what? This email made me go back into the system and add a few more photos and engage even more. Nurturing at it's best, right?
I've just about gotten to the end of my "Christmas Haul" posts here on the blog with this light bulb post. Most recently, I - hopefully - convinced those of you who are reading that I'm NOT just a bird-crazy person and that all I wanted was bird stuff . I sure did get a lot from Nat and the kids, but I also scored a few other things from my brother-in-law ( the Sortimo T-Boxx from that I recently posted ), my father-in-law ( the Craftsman Multimeter that I posted last week ) that are both destined for my basement shop. Or...as the naming convention around here insists: my #NewOldWorkshop . Nat's Mom and Dad gave me this LIFX bulb that is one of a handful of smart bulbs that work directly with our Google Home and don't require a Smarthome bridge/hub. That has a lot of appeal to me. You can find the details of Google Assistant/Home + LIFX here on the LIFX landing page specifically for Google Home . They show you a bunch of the commands. I
Google released this " appsperiment " called Storyboard that takes your videos and makes these cute comic book-style images. There isn't much more to do than that and sometimes you get something garbled and sometimes you get some cute stuff like this one with the Babe, the Bird and the King of the Ball Tossers with the Big Guy. It is Android only, so all you iphone suckers are out of luck.
Back in May, I posted about hitting level 4 on the Google Local Guides program which gives you a nice storage bonus for photos and docs and gmail. I've been contributing to the Local Guide program - which is where you submit your reviews/ratings as well as photos of local places to Google Maps - ever since and every few weeks, Google sends you a little update on how well your stuff is faring. Sometimes, it is how many people are being helped by your photos and other times it is how often your reviews are being shared, etc. Recently, I received the email above that shows that my photos have now hit 2.5M combined views. I have no idea what that means, other than it seems like a big number. As a Local Guide, you can go in and see all of your contributions and even see which photos have the most views (t his photo of Silver Beach Pizza in St. Joe's is my most-viewed photo ever). Kind of interesting to see which photos people are using and how they're helping. The
We now have this little robot assistant living on our countertop in the kitchen. Thus far, we've built out a shopping list, asked it 'Do you want to build a snowman?', had it play some Disney music and even asked it to play some YouTube videos on our Chromecast. Kinda nice. It isn't sending things to our phones yet, but having it create a 'shopping list' on Google Keep is pretty nice. I ordered an orange base (or course, I went with orange!) and we'll be outfitting it this week. Oh, and not that I'm attached to Google Home yet or anything...but I *did* say "Hey Google...see you later." as I left the house this am. And she replied "goodbye".
Those of you that follow the technology world like I do likely heard about/read about the new Pixel and Pixel XL phones that Google announced last week along with other things like Google Home and Google Wifi. Being an Android guy and owner of every Nexus phone (and a few tablets!) that have come out, I couldn't wait to get in line to buy a phone. But, as part of the marketing for these new phones, Google has been doing a lot of talk about the camera. And how it is, by at least one regard, the *best* camera to ever be put in a phone. That's nice, right? They also talked about a feature called Smartburst. From their post : Pixel’s camera lets you take stunning photos in low light, bright light or any light. Catch action shots as they happen with Smartburst, which takes a rapid-fire sequence of shots and automatically selects the best one. Use Lens Blur to achieve shallow depth of field and bokeh effects, making your subject pop. You can capture dramatic landscapes
I was sitting in these internal meetings for Edelman in Toronto a few weeks back and my past hit me square between the eyes. One of the speakers was Joshua Gans , a professor at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto who speaks widely on the concept of disruption. It was an appropriate topic for us at Edelman because our agency is undergoing a transformation of sorts as we head away from pure Public Relations to becoming a Communications Marketing organization. He runs a blog called Digitopoly and covers disruption and economics. Welp, during his talk, he cited a few examples of organizations that made moves based on the marketplace and talked about their being three factors in disruption: 1. First...can you guys see the disruption coming? 2. Can you identify and organize a response? And... 3. Can you execute on the response and adopt it to your organization. He also talked about the three type of responses: 1. Beat them. 2. Join them. 3
Well...Thanks Google! Look at what they sent me recently for being a participant in their Local Guides program : Free Google Drive Upgrade to 1 TB. Granted, it is only for 2 years, but still a nice little perk for being a Local Guide Level 4 . See below for the current state of my usage of storage at Google. I'm currently at 38 GB of storage used. And now with my 1.1 Terabyte storage allocation, I'm using a paltry 3% of the available storage. Great googly moogly! That's a lot of photos and documents and videos. Before this upgrade, I was on the $1.99/month 100 GB plan and I was using almost 40% of that. I think I can cancel my $1.99/month now, right? Lose that .1 in the number? Wonder how the renewal works. Do I have to maintain my Level 4 status somehow? According to the storage page, the 1 TB/month plan costs $9.99/month, so let's call it almost a $250 gift. #ThanksGoogle!
Nothing to be embarrassed about in my Google Now, is there?? Stinkin' Google Now figured me out as a bit of a Gilly. What with Nat being all-in on the show and the Gilmore Guys podcast (like...seriously...all-in), and me being a Melissa McCarthy fan (She does the Stern Show!), how could I not get sucked in? You can't blame me, right?
That's the Huawei-made Nexus 6P that showed up earlier this week. This marks the 7th Nexus phone I've had going all the way back to the original Nexus One. When I was at Google, I had the S, Galaxy Nexus, 4 and 5. Since I've left, I went with last year's behemoth the Nexus 6 and now this year the 6P. Nat has been on the Nexus program since the 4, too. But the 6 was so big, she opted to go with the Moto X Pure last year. This year, she's back on the Nexus program with the 5X. These just arrived, so we haven't put them through their paces, but so far so good. The camera - everyone claims - is much improved. That's always been the sore spot for the Nexus line for me. Also, the 6 was a bit clunky when it came to the wifi and bluetooth radios. They were spotty and would kick off every once in a while. I ordered a case, but it hasn't shown up yet, so this thing feels so light and thin. I know it won't last when I strap the case/bumper o
Yesterday, I renewed my Google Drive combined storage package (gmail, docs, photos) and the auto-response email that came to my gmail was jarring. (check out the date - October 26th 2015 - for proof that this is recent.) Look at that old logo. It felt a bit like I found an 'undiscovered' part of the corporate brand that didn't get upgraded to the new logo. Those pesky auto-response emails are always forgotten, right? When I was involved with a political campaign last year, the auto-response emails that got kicked off whenever someone took an action were always the last to get attention. (Which is funny, right? Because in that setting...those are probably some of the *most* important touch points...) I wasn't sold on the new look Google logo, but when this arrived...and looking at the old Google logo also makes me think that the new one is a big upgrade.
I've written about my experience with Google Express before here on the blog . I really like it. Especially for Costco purchases. For example, we were having a first birthday party for The Beef over this past weekend at our* house and after doing a proper inventory, we discovered that we were covered with disposable plates and forks/knives/spoons, we didn't have any of those big party dinner napkins. You know... this kind . So...I added those to my cart and threw in a big party container of cashews and I hit the $15 minimum order for free delivery. 12 hours later....they arrived and we were ready for the party. But...to get started with buying on Costco via Google Express wasn't super easy. It required a visit to our local Costco store and a request of a new Costco card. That's because....Google Express requires that the name on your credit card that you are using to purchase stuff match EXACTLY the name on your Costco account. So...that top card is my *n
Earlier this week, Google announced the expansion of Google Express to include delivery in the suburbs of Chicago via this blog post . Being a 'root-for-the-home-team-kinda-guy', I *had* to give it a shot, right? Google Express allows for overnight delivery of goods from a network of retailers including Walgreens, Costco, Toys R Us and others. Much like Amazon Prime, you can pay an annual subscription charge and receive free shipping. On this maiden order, I decided to skip the subscription and just pay the $4 it cost to get the stuff to my house. To make things easy, I picked just one store: Walgreens. And after filling my cart with a few things, I got the hang of it. I quickly realized that I had to hit $15 in stuff to get to the delivery threshold. So...I went around and plucked a few things from the various departments and nosed ahead of $15. This was on Wednesday. I also looked at the offerings from a few other stores. Costco, in particular was of interest.
Thanks to the magic powers of Google+ and AutoAwesome, I woke up this morning and was gifted this cute movie. Didn't have to lift a finger. They picked the photos, they picked the videos, they even picked the music. All I had to do was post it here (and on Google+ of course...) Pretty incredible example of the fun stuff that can come out of massive computing power in the cloud.
Sometimes, just sometimes, technology is amazing. Well...I guess A LOT of the time, technology is amazing, but on rare occasions, I find myself blown away by the computing power that we carry with us everyday. This story is a case in point. I carry an Android device in my pocket and I have Google's FieldTrip App on it. It works on both Android and iPhone, so if you don't have it on your phone, you should go grab it now. I'll wait. Seriously... Go here and click the link for your app store . Field Trip is this neat little pocket assistant that alerts you to interesting things in the world around you. You can set your preferences (I lean heavily on movie scenes - like alerting me when I'm near a location that was used in a movie, architecture, history, and food.) and the app will buzz in your pocket to give you a little bit of knowledge that is contextually/geo-aware of your location. It is pretty neat. If you walk through the Loop everyday, the notificati