Styled Maps Using Google Maps API Version 3 - You probably know a lot of these tips if you’ve done some Google Maps integration work, but you may not know that you can change the colors of land, water, and road elements, simplify or remove roads, remove text labels, and display pseudo-3D buildings.
Google TV - This space is about to explode. With so many high-caliber players competing, they’re going to have to bring their A game to survive. End result = consumers win.
As part of their recent design refresh, Google removed almost all underlines from links on the search results page. They kept the primary link titles underlined while cleaning up secondary and supportive UI links for reduced visual clutter.
Methinks the Google News team could benefit from some of this
Clever promotional video for Google Chrome Extensions.
Peter Kasting, UI engineer for Google Chrome, gives a rundown on just how much work they’ve put into making the user interface exceptionally fast and responsive.
Two things that I found particularly interesting:
Back when the project was just starting and the browser did almost nothing, they benchmarked the startup time performance (again, for an app that was basically a skeleton) and then set a policy that no future change could ever slow the startup time below that threshold. I can’t imagine how challenging that must have been.
It was really exiting to hear that Google, with their reputation for objective and scientifically measurable test results, embraced the ideas of perceived performance (how responsive something is, regardless of actual performance) and cognitive friction. Cognitive Friction is a term that Alan Cooper came up with in The Inmates Are Running the Asylum to describe the mental energy required to decipher an interface in order to determine how to proceed. In other words, a UI can be blazingly fast from a technical standpoint, but it doesn’t matter if it takes a user 17 seconds to find the control they need.
Google Earth adds even more awesome with amazingly detailed 3D buildings of New York City.
Google’s master plan of modeling the entire planet takes a step closer using crowdsourcing with their Model Your Town Competition - the finalists seen here.
Update: I found a promising Rails plugin for this.
Duncan Grazier may be on to something with his comjiler project. I’d be interested in hearing about how people are using the Closure compiler in the wild - Rails apps or otherwise.
The upcoming Android/Google navigation looks very nice.
A look at how Google models flu trends.