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July 29, 2014 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Google.

If you saw a couple of guys with cameras on tripods this morning on Main Street, they are Drew and Adam Hilker, who are contractors with Google traveling the state shooting pictures for an updated street view map on Google Maps.

The new street view is intended to provide more detail in business districts, such as Downtown Batavia.

January 27, 2014 - 11:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCC, Google.

Press release:

Anyone searching to find directions to Genesee Community College's main campus in Batavia are advised to avoid using the online Google Maps utility. Despite many attempts by the College to have Google correct the problem, Google Maps continues to direct visitors trying to reach GCC's main campus to the College's Albion Campus Center located 30 miles north of Batavia in Orleans County.

"We have contacted Google multiple times to rectify this problem and are continuously told that it takes weeks for their algorithm to correct misguided directions. In addition, Google claims its tech support cannot manually intervene to remedy the problem," said Donna Rae Sutherland, associate director of Marketing Communications.

"It's been incredibly frustrating and also rather dangerous. Buses of athletic teams, performing artists and potential students have all gone 60 miles out of their way traveling in haste back down Route 98, which is often very blustery with poor visibility during the winter months."

The problem has been an ongoing for approximately a year with short periods of time when Google Maps accurately listed the Batavia Campus, but currently the right side panel posts a map and information to the Albion Campus Center without even mentioning the main campus is in Batavia. Google's proprietary software uses unique algorithms to provide mapping information automatically. Unknowing visitors are logically following Google's posted directions without clicking through to find the right campus and its proper location.

Sutherland recommends Web searchers utilize MapQuest and the College's Maps and Directions Web page available at: http://www.genesee.edu/about/visit/maps/ This gives users door- to-door directions to any campus location and also explicit directions to the main campus in Batavia.

"Most other online utilities are able to find us perfectly, but with Google's ongoing problem we strongly advise people to steer clear of using Google Maps to find GCC."

August 22, 2011 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Google.

If you've ever used Google Maps, then you probably know what "Street View" is.  For those who don't or haven't noticed Street View before, it's a service of Google Maps that allows you to "navigate" along a street on the map, seeing what buildings are on the street.  The theory, supposedly, is that if you ever travel to that street, you'll see better the landmarks and such to help you find what you're looking for.

Much of Batavia was already mapped by the Google "Street View Car" -- seen above -- but the car is apparently back in town today.

I spotted it on Court Street this morning (link for Street View example). Andy Pedro sent in this picture of the car Violet Lane.

January 12, 2010 - 5:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in technology, health, Google, h1n1, flu.



When people have flu-like symptoms, or a friend or relative does, the first thing they do is hop on Google to see if they can self-diagnose or learn more about the illness.

Those searches spike when there are a lot of people feeling sick.

Google has found that its search trends correlate to Center for Disease Control reports, but CDC lags Google's real-time results by about two weeks.

The current trends show minimal concern in the Buffalo and Rochester area (they don't break it down for Batavia specifically) about the flu this month. 

Learn more about how this works by clicking here.

March 21, 2009 - 11:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in economy, jobs, Google, NYPA.

OK, Medina is outside of our coverage area, but the Daily News has a story this morning that concerns all of us, because any chance to create 200 good paying jobs in Western New York is an issue that impacts the entire region's economy.

Google wanted to build a server facility Medina, but the New York Power Authority would not help Google get low-cost power to the plant, which is a prerequisite for any of Google's hosting facilities.

The Daily's story fully captures the frustration over the situation.

State Sen. George Maziarz blasted NYPA for denying Google and other companies that have wanted to build in Western New York. Maziarz lambasted NYPA officials Thursday in Albany during a public hearing to raise electric rates by 12 percent.

“I personally worked over two years with a small company headquartered in San Francisco called Google that wanted desperately to locate in Western New York and were told there was no power available to them,” Maziarz said during Thursday’s hearing.

He blamed NYPA “for killing the deals and the jobs that go along with them.”

Maziarz went on to call NYPA officials liars and thieves.

If Niagara power can potentially  be acquired cheaply, as Tom Rivers points out in the story, to spur business growth, how does it possibly make sense for NYPA to thwart business expansion in a region that desperately needs that job growth?

February 16, 2009 - 11:50am
posted by Tasia Boland in batavia, Oakfield, internet, Google, cell phones.

Everywhere I go I see people texting or talking on their cell phones. Now the craze of constantly checking each other’s status has gone to the next level. Technology today offers numerous ways to not only stay connected to friends and family, but to keep a constant eye on them, to know wherever they are, whenever.

On Wednesday, Feb. 4, Google launched Latitude, a location-tracking service that uses GPS hardware found in smart phones to pinpoint your real-time position on a map and share that information with friends. The program seems simple to download: enter your cell phone number and wait for the link to arrive to your phone.

Seventeen-year-old Oakfield resident Justin Potter said he would love to try the new Google Latitude application. “Cool, I would love to check this out,” Potter said after he heard what Latitude was all about.

Before users are able to see where their friends are, they must first have an account with Google, have Latitude downloaded, and make sure their phone is compatible. Potter was eager to try it. Unfortunately, his cell phone was not compatible, and the only other way he could use the program was through his computer at home.

“I would rather have it on my cell phone,” Potter said, disappointed.

Even though Potter wasn’t able to download Latitude to his phone, he said this would be an easier way to connect with his friends.“I will definitely check out this program,” he said, adding that his friends would likely enjoy it, too.

At first, Potter thought that anyone would be able to track his location. Latitude’s maps shows the user’s location, marked with a picture of the person that has been uploaded onto their Google account. But users must add friends and then send an invite, similar to the friend request system used with Myspace and Facebook. Your friends must accept before you can track their location.

Batavia resident Alicia Philips, 40, screamed with excitement about using Latitude.

“Heck yes! I would love to use this,” she said. “This would be so beneficial, especially in case of an emergency.” Phillips is the mother of three and said she would love to use it as another means to find out exactly where her children are.

Google gives the user three privacy settings: a user's location can be updated automatically, manually updated, or they can hide their location from friends. And, of course, they can always just turn Latitude off.

Not everyone is so enthusiastic, however. A "privacy" group based in the UK that goes by the name of Privacy International issued a full statement on what they found to be a major security flaw with the program: the potential for a third party to hack into the program. The group's conclusion sounds damning:

Privacy International believes Google has created an unnecessary danger to the privacy and security of users. It is clear the company is aware of the need to create a message alert on Latitude-enabled phones but has chosen to launch the service without universal access to this safeguard. The Director of Privacy International, Simon Davies, said:

"Many people will see Latitude as a cool product, but the reality is that Google has yet again failed to deliver strong privacy and security. The company has a long way to go before it can capture the trust of phone users."

"As it stands right now, Latitude could be a gift to stalkers, prying employers, jealous partners and obsessive friends. The dangers to a user’s privacy and security are as limitless as the imagination of those who would abuse this technology."

As to be expected, Google was swift to respond.

“We recognize the sensitivity of location data, so we've built fine-grained privacy controls right into the application,” Vic Gundtra, Google's VP of engineering wrote in a blog post. 

The program can be installed at Google Latitude.

Latitude is currently available in 27 countries, and Google hopes to expand. The program is free but there may be carrier charges. Phones that are enabled to use this program include: T-mobile Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Motorola, Nokia, Nokia S60, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Windows Mobile.

December 9, 2008 - 5:08pm
posted by Darrick Coleman in batavia, Google.

Google has recently updated their Maps with Street View for Batavia. Here are a few places of interest:

City Hall

Present Tense Bookstore

Holland Land Office

Genesee Community College

 It's fun to see if you can find your car or someone you know walking the streets. What do you think, is this an invasion of privacy?

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