Google Viewer

Google Reader just enabled viewing of embedded videos directly in the aggregator. That’s way cool! But it leads me to a feature request that I’ve been meaning to make for a while…

Could the magicians (and I mean that with the utmost respect) at Google Labs please enable viewing of embedded QTVR panoramas? And not just in Google Reader (though that’d be a great start), but where I’d really like this is in Google Earth (in the HTML renderer for Placemark Description bubbles).

Climbing Cedar Mesa, near Mexican Hat, Utah, June 12, 2005

To give you an idea what I’ve got in mind, embedded above is a QTVR panorama I shot halfway up Cedar Mesa in southeastern Utah back in the summer of 2005. I’d love for that to be viewable in my RSS aggregator (Google Reader). Also, here’s a placemarkGoogle Earth Placemark in Google Earth with the QTVR embedded in the description bubble. Embedding QTVR panoramas works in Google Maps, so why can’t it work in Google Earth?

Update: At Dave Morris’ suggestion I’ve updated the placemark to include a Collada panorama bubble. If you’ve downloaded it previously, you’ll need to redownload it to see the new feature.

OPML to the Rescue

I love Google Reader, but it’s definitely still in beta.

Two months ago during an information overload crisis I unsubscribed from a couple of USGS RSS/CAP hazards alerts feeds. Today, when I wanted to resubscribe to those feeds I discovered a problem. In the intervening time I’ve largely switched from Bloglines to Google Reader as my primary RSS aggregator. It appears that Google Reader is not capable of auto-discovering (and therefore subscribing to) USGS Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) feeds. Google Reader has no problem with USGS RSS feeds. I was able to work around this problem using Bloglines to auto-discover and subscribe to the CAP feeds, then I was able to export these feeds as an OPML file and import them into Google Reader. I don’t know how standards-compliant the CAP format is, but since Bloglines appears to deal with it with no problems and Google Reader reads the feeds (once subscribed) just fine, I suspect that the failure to auto-discover these feeds is a bug in Google Reader. I have contacted both Google and the USGS about this – hopefully it can be fixed quickly. I’ve also urged the USGS to offer their feeds in an OPML format and to add Google Reader to the list of aggregators on that page (with proper instructions), seeing as it is being adopted as the aggregator of choice by a rapidly growing number of people.

For anyone who’s interested, here are the three USGS CAP feeds I’m subscribing to (M>5 quakes, landslides, and volcano alerts feeds) as an OPML file: USGS_Geol_Hazards_Alerts.opml