The Code Review: No more contact scraping, sync your calendar, and Gears in your pocket

MAR 07, 2008
By Dion Almaer, Google Developer Programs

What a week for technology news. I feel like the industry is in overdrive this week as we have large announcements in mobile (e.g. iPhone SDK, Gears for Mobile), and we get to see a beta of IE 8 for the first time.

I was very happy to see the actual release of Google Gears for Mobile. I had just been visiting the London office where I got to chat with the team behind the mobile launch. I enjoyed hearing the story behind the birth of Gears for mobile, and their thoughts on where mobile development is heading. It seems like we hear people claiming the breakthrough of the mobile Web every year, but 2008 may finally be the right time. We are getting the combination of devices that are good enough, and better networks. The tools that Gears provides seem to almost make more sense in the mobile world, and I look forward to seeing the community build new Gears to unlock the power of the mobile devices and put that functionality into the hands of Web hackers.

Listen in to the conversation below:

The mobile release happened right as Brad Neuberg and myself were doing a mini mid-west tour of the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, and the University of Michigan. It was great to meet the students and see their views on the Web. Speaking on Gears at the birth of the Web browser was also a real honour.

Death to scrap-y

Whenever I see an application that asks for my Google username and password to scrape contacts I would cry. This isn't what we want users doing, but I really understand the users are asking for the functionality of mashing up their contact data, and no-one wants to re-enter it. You can't blame third party applications for offering the functionality, and now they don't have to do it insecurely. The release of the Google Contacts API offers an AtomPub based way of consuming your contacts.

Another feature that our users keep asking for is Google Calendar sync, and we just got the Outlook sync product out to you too.

There were a couple of interesting pieces of news in the Maps space. You now have access to a new static map API that gives you a snapshot image of the map instead of an embed-able interactive widget.

Pamela Fox also put together a rich Google Maps API Gallery that answers questions such as: "How do I draw a circle on the map?" or "How do I create groups of toggle-able markers?"

The open source side of Google has been busy too. The Summer of Code 2008 has launched, so start thinking of cool projects for the students to get hacking on!

We also have a group heading to PyCon 2008, so join us there as we give a talk titled: Use Google Spreadsheets API to create a database in the cloud.

Lindsey Simon created a very cool little tool, CSSJanus, that lets you take your CSS styled Web site and create a right-to-left version for locales that need it. He talked about the work behind it, gave a screencast showing it in action for you.

Finally, there are some other cool videos to check out too (it's Friday!)

As always, check out the latest tech talks, subscribe to the Google Developer Podcast and visit the Google Code YouTube channel.

After we take a breather from this week, see you next time!