Google Maps Timelines and my 2007 maps hack

I just saw a blog post from Google announcing the timelines feature in the new Maps app for Android. The feature extends the previously available (though often hard to find) location history view with photos from Google Photos.

I am really glad this exists now. I have wished for something like this for a very long time. I even started making my travel maps back in 2007 manually using Google Maps “My Map” feature. In my case the photos were coming in from Flickr and embedded with text in an iFrame. I even started working on an app that would do this but lost interest halfway through (story of my life 😉 )

maps

The fact that its automatic is very convenient, though I wish I could add non-google data to this. Am also surprised that these timelines don’t integrate with the Stories feature of Google+ Photos Google Photos.

Announcing Artbook: An Android Client for Dribbble

I am a big fan of Dribbble. For the uninitiated, its a community for designers to share parts of their work and is pretty inspirational when you are thinking of designs for your own applications. When I released FreeFlow earlier this year, I included a sample Dribbble project as part of the release to showcase the power of layout system. Since then I recieved a couple of messages from a few folks to just complete that as an app since a lot of the work was already done anyway. It also didn’t seem like there were any really compelling Dribbbble apps on the Play Store (well none that I felt were very interesting anyway). So last week I worked a bit and finished the Artbook app

Like the original source that was included in FreeFlow, Artbook is completely open source and released under the Apache 2 license. The code for the app has some ugly parts but is generally okay. Having recently acquired a 10.1” Android tablet (the Galaxy Note 10.1 mostly for drawing), I really wanted to make sure it had a fantastic tablet experience. However unlike Google’s direction to use Fragments for multi device layouts, this app does it via just a few simple if-else blocks and conditionally loading layouts. I find this approach so much simpler than any elaborate Fragment based architectures.

Anyway, I hope you give it a shot and see if you like it. I find browsing Dribbble a lot more fun using it

 

Big in China

I haven’t looked at the usage stats for PicScribe in a while. It does the couple of things I need it for and I am mostly content with the functionality. But with Material Design I was thinking of giving the app a refresh as well as add some features I had been meaning to as well.

Looking at the stats today was interesting though. Looking at my integrated Google Analytics data, it appears that majority of the app usage is happening in China where Google Play doesn’t even exist. I have no idea how they got the app, its free so it doesn’t matter, but still.

china.png
All the top phones are also local ones (mostly Xiaomi ).

Lesson of the day: Make sure you add analytics to your app.