Monday, June 29, 2009

Google Voice - One Phone Number To Rule Them All

Google Voice is a new service from Google currently available free of charge by invitation only.

Google Voice offers one Google Number for all your calls and SMS. The service includes Google Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts, free calls, conference calling, and more. Google Voice is in fact a convergent telco 2.0 type service that executives of telecommunications companies can worry about. Is it Google's answer to Skype?

A Google Phone Number is like a regular phone number except it is not tied to a phone or location. It's tied to you. When somebody calls you they just call your Google Number and they don't have to decide to call you at home, work or on your cell. And with a Google Number you choose where it rings. It can ring all your phones at one or different phones based on who's calling... When you change jobs, move homes or switch your phone service your Google Number stays the same.

Google Voice is based on the GrandCentral who has been acquired by Google in 2007.

Google Voice features include:

One number for all your calls and SMS
  • Call screening - Announce and screen callers
  • Listen in - Listen before taking a call
  • Block calls - Keep unwanted callers at bay
  • SMS - Send, receive, and store SMS
  • Place calls - Call US numbers for free
  • Taking calls - Answer on any of your phones
  • Phone routing - Phones ring based on who calls
  • Forwarding phones - Add phones and decide which ring
Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts
  • Voicemail transcripts - Read what your voicemail says
  • Listen to voicemail - Check online or from your phone
  • Notifications - Receive voicemails via email or SMS
  • Personalize greeting - Vary greetings by caller
  • Share voicemail - Forward or download voicemails
More cool things you can do with Google Voice
  • Conference calling - Join people into a single call
  • Call record - Record calls and store them online
  • Call switch - Switch phones during a call
  • Mobile site - View your inbox from your mobile
  • GOOG-411 - Check directory assistance
  • Manage groups - Set preferences by group

Sign up for your Google Number and get a Google Voice invite here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Augmented Reality Games on Phones

Augmented Reality is going to be coming to your Android phone or iPhone 3GS very shortly. All it takes is a decent processor, a camera, a compass and a GPS. These features enable fun games and useful geo-oriented applications.

The Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech investigating the design and implementation of augmented- and mixed-reality experiences. Their new AR game is called ARhrrrr.

ARhrrrr is an augmented reality shooter for mobile camera-phones. The phone provides a window into a 3D town overrun with zombies. Point the camera at our special game map to mix virtual and real world content. Civilians are trapped in the town, and must escape before the zombies eat them! From your vantage point in a helicopter overhead, you must shoot the zombies to clear the path for the civilians to get out. You can also use Skittles as tangible inputs to the game, placing one on the board and shooting it to trigger an explosion.

This fast-action first-person augmented reality, where the camera controls and movement that would typically require a mouse and keyboard are handled directly by simply moving the device. Advanced tracking technology allows the player to quickly zoom in and out and view the world at steep angles, making this a highly interactive and engaging game.

ARhrrr! was designed for the Nvidia Tegra but similar games and applications will become widely available for the iPhone 3GS and Android phones soon. The virtual world and real world are merging into the Metaverse.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

HOME Movie Views Tops 1M on YouTube

HOME - the Film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand has been released on June 5th 2009 World Environment Day. For the first time ever, a film has been released on the same day in over 50 countries and on every format: movie theaters, TV, DVD and Internet.

The full Project HOME movie is available on YouTube in HD (1280×720 mp4 @ 2000 kbit/s) for free. It has reached one million views in 9 days. The network traffic to deliver the full 93 minutes of HOME HD is in the magnitude of a petabyte!

The plan was to show HOME Project on YouTube until 14th June but the date has been apparently extended. The download counter is close to 1.2 millions and counting. Thank you Yann Arthus-Bertrand, PPR and YouTube!

HOME on the iPhone

It is now possible to find out the latest news on the planet, calculate your carbon footprint or watch Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s film thanks on the iPhone thanks to a free application available on the Apple Store website.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Siri Virtual Personal Assistant iPhone App

Siri is a Virtual Personal Assistant - a new way to interact with the Internet on your mobile phone. Like a real assistant, Siri helps you get things done. You interact with Siri by just saying, in your own words, what you want to do. You can ask Siri to find a romantic place for dinner, and get reservations for Saturday night. You can discover things to do over the weekend, get tickets to the movies, or call a cab when you’re out on the town. You don't have to search through a bunch of web pages, following links and hunting down facts. Siri does all the work giving you the information you need at your fingertips.

Years in the making, Siri is born out of SRI's CALO Project, the largest Artificial Intelligence project in U.S. history. (CALO stands for Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes). Made possible by a $150 million DARPA investment, the CALO Project included 25 research organizations and institutions and spanned 5 years. Siri is bringing the benefits of this technology to the public, in the first mainstream consumer application of a virtual personal assistant.

Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) represent the next generation interaction paradigm for the Internet. In today's paradigm, we follow links on portals, feeds, and search results. With a VPA, we interact by having a conversation. We tell the assistant what we want to do, in our own words, and it applies multiple services and information sources to help accomplish our task. If the assistant does not understand completely, it asks for clarification. If it cannot find a solution from available sources, it offers alternatives. Like a real assistant, a VPA is personal: it uses information about the individual's preferences and history of interaction to help solve their specific tasks, and it gets better with experience.

Siri will launch later this summer so you’ll be able to download the Siri iPhone app later this summer.

Further Reading

Thursday, June 4, 2009

HOME project - Free HD Earth Movie on YouTube

HOME - a Film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (to be released on June 5th)

The French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand is well known for Earth from Above, a stunning collection of photographs that affords its viewers a window into the world's workings. He has wandered the globe to gather this collection of more than 200 uniformly striking photographs. His new project is a unique movie HOME. In his own words:

"We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate.

The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being.

For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film.

HOME has been made for you: share it! And act for the planet."

More than a movie, HOME will be a major event all over the globe: for the first time ever, a film will be released on the same day in over 50 countries and on every format: movie theaters, TV, DVD and Internet.

HOME project is available on YouTube in HD for free. Home is also available on DVD, Blu-ray formats and as a companion book - Home: A Hymn to the Planet and Humanity.

The free release of the first HD movie is another milestone for broadband internet innovations.