Google Maps, aka Google Local, now has a calling feature that’s been flitting about in limited quantities recently. Apparently it went completely live and is available on just about every business w/ a verified listing. I’ve tried it several times, and it works pretty well. Funny sidenote – I called my fiance’ at work through Google Maps, and the receptionist asked if I was ‘on a Google’. While she thought I was calling from my computer, which I wasn’t, she was still on the mark. Apparently, Google uses Skype behind the scenes to make these call connections. Was the entire call VoIP? I don’t know.
Anyway, now that this is live and looks like it will be a successful addition, I think it would be an awesome addition to Gmail. I would love to look up a contact and be automatically connected by pressing a ‘call’ button instead of looking up the contact and then dialing the number. It’s not that I’m particularly lazy (though I likely am), it’s just that the technology exists, it’s in Google’s framework, and it’s a logical addition.
Google Maps w/ Calling Power: http://local.google.com/
Techcrunch on Google Maps: http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/11/16/google-local-ads-click-to-call/
i still think that ultimately the Zune will do OK, meaning it won’t be a complete failure – it surely won’t make a dent in iPod, that’s for sure. MS invested a lot, and supposedly the player interface is pretty nice. it’s def still behind the iPod curve, of course, in terms of product design and ergonomics, size, weight.
i think Zune’s major problem is its advertising. not only is it just geeks who know about Zune in the first place, MS’s ad campaign is super confusing – ‘welcome to the social’? what’s that? who in the world would know what they’re talking about if they hadn’t read up on the Zune for months? the ads just show a bunch of people being social – it doesn’t really touch on the fact that they’re promoting a portable music player. this ad is trying to appeal to hip, tech savvy early adopters – people that generally don’t subscribe to MS’s products. it’s hard to believe, and i keep saying this to my friends that listen to me when we talk about it, that after all of the schooling that Apple’s done on everyone regarding marketing and designing their products, things like this can still happen.
oh, and apparently Zune is currently incompatible w/ Vista, as seen through these posts. now that’s just beyond hilarious.
- Zune installation problems, w/ pics: http://www.flx-tech.net/2006/11/zune_on_early_sale_at_bestbuy_1.html
- Zune sales starting way down: http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/11/15/lack-of-internal-talks-at-microsoft-google/
- Zune incompatible w/ Vista: http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=104