Like many of you out there, we are Gmail addicts around here. So a feature addition to Gmail is always an enjoyable event. When it solves a problem in a really simple way, it's even better. Gmail has added the ability to drag and drop images into the composition panel, and it definitely solves a problem. This is similar to the recently added ability to drag and drop attachments into messages.
In our testing it worked very well. Even dropping in large images resulted in only a slight delay before they were visible. It's just a small addition in the grand scheme of Gmail, but when combined with other new, intuitive features it really makes it feel like a more elegant experience. We assume this is accomplished with some sort of HTML5 implementations in Gmail.
Google is currently only supporting this feature in Chrome, but other browsers are coming soon. What features do you want to see in Gmail?
Double the screensavers, double the fun. Right? That's the proposition offered by FoxSaver, a unique extension for the Mozilla Firefox Web browser that separates the application into its own, separate display platform from your desktop. That's a bit of a tongue-twister, so let me spell this out: FoxSaver, as suggested by the name, is an add-on that builds a separate screensaver into your browsing session.
You can use the add-on to pull images from a huge online gallery of pre-submitted pictures (akin to Flickr). If you're not into the random element, you can also set up FoxSaver to use images from a number of folders on your local hard drive or specific RSS feeds that you've already set up. The add-on will even display the contents of Web pages during the animated screensaver process--take that, data-driven RSS feeds.
Google Labs continues to fine tune the way you look for and view images on your PC. It started with the basic Image Search launched in 2001, which more recently involved into Similar Images. Taking it one step further, Google on Tuesday unveiled an experimental featured called Google Image Swirl.
"Once you find the group of images you're interested in, you can click on the thumbnail and a cluster of images will 'swirl' into view," Google wrote on its blog. "You can then further explore additional sub-groups within any cluster."
To make the effect possible, Google says it tapped into technologies developed for Similar Images and Picasa Face Recognition. All of the thumbnails on the initial results page represents an algorithmically-determined group of images with a similar appearance and meaning.
As it stands, Image Swirl works for more than 200,000 search queries, with even more planned in the future, Google says.
Over the last couple of weeks, you've probably noticed Google has been on a sci-fi kick by replacing its standard doodle with a series of UFO-based logos. The first one showed a UFO abducting the second 'O' in the logo, and after decoding an accompanying Twitter message that read "All your O are belong to us," everyone concluded it was simply a throwback to the poorly translated video game Zero Wing in recognition of its 20-year anniversary.
But then more doodles started to appear, including one which linked to a search for "crop circles," along with another Twitter clue. For those of you that figured out this all somehow tied in with H.G. Wells, pat yourself on the back.
"Now, we're finally acknowledging the reason for the doodles with an official nod to Herbert George, who would be 143 years old today," Google revealed in its blog. "Inspiration for innovation in technology and design can come from lots of places; we wanted to celebrate H.G. Wells an an author who encouraged fantastical thinking about what is possible, on this planet and beyond. And maybe have some fun while we were doing it."
While Google continues to pull ahead with a healthy share of planetary images, Microsoft announced this week that they signed a deal that gives them access to 100TB worth of NASA’s images, that will ultimately find their way onto the WorldWide Telescope website.
Microsoft has announced that they plan on working with NASA in order to develop “the technology and infrastructure necessary to make the most interesting NASA content.” The content, which will be available on Microsoft’s virtual telescope for exploring the universe, WorldWide Telescope, should be available later this year.
And, for those keeping tabs on just how big 100TB of data is, that’s enough to fill 20,000 DVDs.
One of the coolest features to find its way into Microsoft's Silverlight 2's beta build is the Deep Zoom Composer. Deep Zoom gives website developers the ability to display multiple high resolution thumbnail images, which visitors can then quickly zoom in for a detailed closeup and then pan back out without ever skipping a beat. If you haven't already, install the latest beta build, then head over to the Hard Rock Cafe and browse the memorabilia section to what the fuss is all about.
Taking the technology a giant leap forward, Donavon West, a Microsoft MVP for Live Development, has created a 10,000 x 10,000 mosaic of Barrack Obama. Removing political affiliations from the equation, West's DeepZoomObama mosaic shows Silverlight strutting its stuff as you zoom in on any of the many images ranging from Time Magazine covers to cats wearing hats. Best of all, West details exactly how he built it using a handful of readily available free tools.
While a mosaic of Barrack Obama might be well timed with an upcoming presidential election, the door has been left wide open for Maximum PC readers to serve up more scintillating mosaics. Imagine zooming in on an Asus Striker II Extreme and uncovering a wealth of hardware images. Have something even better in mind? Show us what you got!