The Next Web Awards

April 27th, 2007

During The Next Web Conference there will an award ceremony for the Next Web Awards. The website describes these awards as:

The Next Web Awards are the world wide web public awards for most promising and upcoming services and people.

So these are awards for future accomplishments 🙂

The most interesting thing about these awards is the voting process. In most elections every vote has equal power, but not in this one. You can gain voting power by voting in every category and by inviting others to vote also. Any vote can count up to 12 times in the election. On the Awards website you can see what you need to do to gain this power.

See Patrick’s post about how they came up with the idea for a new voting system.

Go to awards.thenextweb.org and start voting, or use the widget on the right of this page so my votes will gain power 😉

Started Dutch Blog

April 21st, 2007

Today I started a new weblog, this time a Dutch one.

When I started this blog (the one you’re reading right now) I made the decision to primarily write in English

Last few weeks I ran into multiple subjects which were all Dutch oriented, but I never wrote about them because it just didn’t feel right to mix Dutch and English postings.

Also when writing my series about Google Maps I discovered there isn’t much written about this subject in Dutch, so I’m going to translate the articles into Dutch.

All of this made me decide to start a new (Dutch) weblog. This doesn’t mean the English one will cease to exist. I’m planning to write more and keep both blogs up-to-date. Sometimes I’ll write about the same subject on both blogs, but I don’t want to make the Dutch one just a translated version of the English one (or visa versa).

How to get your information into Google Maps (4): Local Business Center

April 14th, 2007

In the previous article in the ‘how to get your information into Google Maps’ series I talked about the 3rd party sources Google is using for their data on Google Maps. After reading this article you’re ready to get your hands dirty and start adding your own business information by using the Local Business Center.

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How to get your information into Google Maps (3): Local data suppliers

April 7th, 2007

I think the most important source of data for Google Maps are the local data suppliers or 3rd party sources.

The biggest difference between the webcrawling results and 3rd party sources is the structure of the data. 3rd Party sources know what the address fields are, how the extra data like reviews is structured, etc. While data from the crawlers isn’t structure at all, as we saw in the previous post.

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How to get your information into Google Maps (2): Webcrawler

April 5th, 2007

Today was an important day because of Google’s announcements about My Maps and KML search. I’ll talk about these later on in this series, when I’m writing about user generated sources.

This post is about the business data Google gets by crawling the Internet and the use of addresses on your website.

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How to get your information into Google Maps (1)

April 4th, 2007

Google is adding more and more localized information to Google Maps. They are adding information about local businesses, restaurants, hotels, public transport and even live traffic information (at this moment only available for the US).

What the sources are for the information Google displays on the maps isn’t very clear to a lot of people.

At last week’s Geo Developer day I also discovered not a lot of people know how they can control their own information on the maps by using the Google Local Business center.

In this series of posts I’ll write about the sources Google uses and ways how to add or edit your own information.

First let’s start with an introduction.

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Report of the Google Geo Developer Day in Amsterdam

March 30th, 2007

Yesterday I was at the Google Geo Developer day in Amsterdam. I think it’s the second time Google organizes such an event. The first time was last year preceding the Oreilly’s Where 2.0 conference in the US (btw. why isn’t there such an event in Europe?).

The program looked interesting and I was looking forward meeting other Google Maps developers.

The day started with some keynotes.

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Google Maps API first steps towards open source

March 24th, 2007

This morning there’s some great news about the Google Maps API:

The Google Maps API Team is excited to announce our new open source project, the GMaps Utility Library. This project will be hosted on code.google.com and will let the Google engineers for the Maps API work hand-in-hand with the many great developers in the Maps API community. Together, we can extend the core Maps API and ensure that every developer need is met.

There are a few reasons why I think this is great news:

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Google officially unveils the Plus Box

March 20th, 2007

On the Google Blog there’s an official announcement of the Plus Box feature. This feature allows extra information to be shown next to individual search results. The feature isn’t completely new, as several bloggers, including Google’s own Matt Cutts have written about it (see search engine land’s post with links to a few of them).

There are two types of Plus Box result: Stock information and maps. I don’t find stock information that interesting, but I love the maps Plus Box. If you search for a business and Google knows its address, there will be a map shown next to the search result with a marker where the address is.

At this moment most (all?) of the results are from the US. You can search for restaurants in New York and you’ll see a few examples (at the bottom of the first page). Sadly I haven’t found any business with a Map Plus Box in The Netherlands (or elsewhere in Europe). The only result with a maps Plus Box you’ll get when searching for restaurants in Amsterdam is Amsterdam Restaurant in New York 🙂

The Google Blog says they are working hard to increase the availability and I hope they will add availability of non-US businesses soon.

I’m not sure a lot of people now how they can add their business information to Google so it’ll show up in the Plus Box or in a Google Maps search. You can add your own information by using the Local Business Center. See more information at the Webmaster Help Center.

In The Netherlands most companies are registered in the Chamber of Commerce register (KvK) and this information automatically shows up in a Google Maps search. At the Local Business Center you can change and add your information (images, description, categories, etc). Before these changes will show up in the search results you have to enter a PIN you’ll get by snail mail sent to your business address.

In the Local Business Center you can also see some kind of statistics, I don’t know what kind of stats it’ll show, because I haven’t received the PIN yet. I’ve changed my information on March 8.

According to the Google Blog there will be more Plus Boxes in the future. One has already been spotted, the Video Plus Box, which shows a video in the Plus Box. I’m curious whether this will only show Youtube and Google Video results, or also videos of Google’s competitors?

First Amsterdam OpenCoffee

March 15th, 2007

This morning, after I brought one of my kids to school (the other one had to go to the dentist), I drove my bike to the KoffieSalon. This is a place in Amsterdam where you can get a great cup of coffee, but that wasn’t the main reason I was going there. The ‘KoffieSalon’ was the location where the first Amsterdam OpenCoffee Meetup was held.

OpenCoffee is the name of a weekly event where entrepreneurs, investors, bloggers, developers and other web savvies can meet at the same place and at the same time.

It was a good and interesting meeting. 30 people signed up and I think they were all there. The time frame (one hour) is short, so you can’t talk to everybody. But it’s long enough to meet a few new people and have an interesting conversation. And because it’s weekly next time you can talk to the others 🙂

One thing I learned, while talking to others, is that I have to work om my introduction speech about the project(s) I’m working on.

So if you want a good Thursday morning start, meet like minded people, talk about your startup, find people to work with, or just have a nice cup of coffee, sign up for the next meetup!