Build your own browser extensions for Google Chrome

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[Ryan] posted a writeup on developing extensions for Google Chrome. The extension system utilizes HTML with a JavaScript API which is still sparsely documented. After taking us through his twitter bar extension project, he concludes that the Chrome extensions are not nearly as versatile as what we’re used to seeing with Firefox. That being said, this is a move in the right direction for the young browser.

[related: Google Chrome roundup]

Gmail without the cloud: tips for next time

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Yesterday’s Gmail service outage is a hot topic on just about every news site right now. For so many of us that have always taken the reliability of Gmail for granted it was a real shock to lose all of the functionality of the web based system. Now that we’ve learned our lesson, here’s a couple of tips to help you out the next time there’s an outage.

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Real Time searching

reallivesearch (Custom)

With the fresh competition of Bing, we are reminded that search engines haven’t changed much since Google came along. Bing has made some nice advancements, like video previews, but still has a way to go to be truly different than Google. [Long]put together this prototype of a real time search system based off of Bings API. He was inspired by Google Wave which we hope to see soon. Wave is primarily for communication, redefining how email and messaging would work. We can’t help but think that Google probably has some cool stuff in the secret vaults for searching too.  [Long]’s project seems like a decent start, but like the goodtimes.searchengine, we think it needs some work. What happened to the cool video previews? More importantly, why can’t we turn off the parental filter?

Experimental search engine display

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goodTimes.searchEngine is an experimental set up to display search engine results. Be sure you’re using Firefox or IE, because it isn’t working with chrome right now.  [Gordon] pointed us to it and asked for our feedback. We had a pretty quick list of improvements we would like to see, such as the category changes not popping up in new windows, or the new windows appearing on top for that matter. Or most importantly, a way to transition from the fancy preview window to a new tab or window. We are curious to hear your thoughts on this. What would make it better? Is it even needed? Is he building a tool to fix a problem that isn’t there? With Bing showing some nice new features over google, would something like this be of more use?

Google Maps adds arterial traffic monitoring

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Traffic monitoring has been available on Google Maps for some time, but has been limited to highways and major roads. According to the Google LatLong blog, traffic tracking support is now available for smaller surface roads in select cities. The data is gathered through mobile phones running My Location. Anybody wishing to help out can sign up their phone and opt into My Location to participate in the anonymous data collection. Now you won’t have to gamble on whether or not your back road alternative route is congested when there’s construction on the freeway. Dash tried something similar with their two-way traffic reporting, but we’re guessing that Google’s version will have even better performance thanks to a rapidly increasing install base.

Android Developer Challenge 2 open for submissions

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Google has opened up a new Android Developer Challenge for submissions. About $2,000,000 in prize money is available, with $250,000 going to the best overall app. Submissions are due by August 31, leaving about a week to get apps in for judging. Time is short, but the prizes are big. Hopefully we’ll see some exciting things come from the contestants now that the community has grown since the previous ADC in 2008.

[via Phandroid]

Radish – eco friendly google calendar

[Aaron] a google employee came up with an idea that would be good for the environment, as well as fun. The Radish is a solar powered display, updated from a google calendar, with extremely low power consumption. They are building this to be an indicator of the conference room schedule. When we first read this, we wondered just how much greener it could possibly be than printing a few sheets of paper. Then we read that they were going through six reams per day. wow. The Radish gets its power through a solar panel, and preserves it through some creative power saving modes and the fact that it has an LCD that only requires power to update. Would this be a good place for some E paper? Data is transferred using IEEE 802.15.4, which is slow, but also more efficient in terms of power than normal WiFi. The system is so efficient, it can run for 3-4 days in low light conditions after a charge . Another cool fact is that [Aaron] got to design and build this on company time. Google allows people to spend 20% of their time on innovative new projects of their choice.

correction: the LCD goes into an extremely low power “sleep mode” when not being updated, and retains the last image loaded.