Thursday, May 05, 2005

Unauthorized Google innovations (aka 'hacks')

The WSJ reported the other day on Google lovers (and Google haters) who created spin-off sites using the results and/or technology from the world's most popular search engine. Here are two that I love:
  • Google News is a fairly good news aggregator, but a guy in Tokyo has designed a way to visually represent the relative popularity of current news stories in a colorful and fun one-page layout. There are even controls at the bottom that allow you to tweak the categories of news you want to see and whether you'd like to see archived newsmaps.
  • Google Maps may not always be better than Yahoo's version, but at its best, it's a lot more visually pleasing and easier to pan and zoom. Now, a guy in California has connected this new mapping application to the data from another very popular destination, Craigslist's real estate listings. So now, you can use this HousingMaps tool to more easily browse by price and by location. This is something I've been waiting for, since it really helps to see how close an apartment is to public transportation, parks, main streets and other landmarks. Let's hope it's still up the next time I'm in the market. (I think this works for all the North American cities covered by Craigslist.)

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