Tag Archives: google-map

How to Track Your Mail with Google Envelopes

Many years ago, my mother wrote out a check for the rent of our house at the time, stuffed it into an addressed envelope, slapped a stamp on it and tossed it into a mail box. The letter was picked up the next day by our neighborhood mailman, and mom assumed that it would reach the rightful person in a day or two. A week later, however, she received a call from the landlady asking why the rent hadn’t been paid. Mom checked with the bank… the check hadn’t been cashed. She spoke with the post office. They didn’t have a damaged envelope on hand. No one could figure out where the mail had gone!

Mom canceled the check, and sent out a new one. Lo and behold: the original envelope was delivered to our house a week or so later. Our rent check had decided to go to Vegas without us, apparently. There were postmarks on there for our home town – and for Las Vegas. What happened to it in between the two dates is a mystery to this day.

While this may have happened many years ago, we still do see lost mail at times. It happens. Think of how many boxes and envelopes the post offices handle each day. It’s mind-boggling to try and add it up. This is why I feel the Google Envelopes (still only a concept at this point) could be a great idea.

If these were a reality, you would type your address and the address of the person you’re mailing something to into the program. Print your envelope and SEE the route right there in front of you. No one can get lost this way. Both addresses are clearly displayed along with a map between the two points.

There is one slight problem, though. This will only work so far if the sender’s address is west of the recipient’s home. I’m sure there’s a workaround for this, but I haven’t figured out yet what it would be.

What do you think? Would you print these fun little envelopes and use them for yourself? Or… would you rather have the ability to say “Gee, I don’t know where the check is. It must be lost in the mail.”

Should You Share Your Location on Twitter and Facebook?

It was announced today that Facebook users will begin seeing a new kind of status update in their news feed: the current locations of people on their friends list. Additionally, Twitter users can now tag their location in their tweets, a feature that will even bring up a map to pin-point exact locations.

Meredith Chin, a Facebook spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the company wasn’t ready to discuss any possible location-based features. However, according to sources who claim to know about the project, the new location feature will have two parts to it. One will be a service offered directly by Facebook that will allow users to share their location information with friends. The other will be a set of software tools that outside developers can use to offer their own location-based services to Facebook users in the form of Apps.

On Twitter, there will be a location placemarker next to any tweet tagged with a location. If you hover your mouse over that placemarker, it turns blue. Clicking on it will bring up a tiny Google map that shows the exact location the tweet was sent from. You can see these maps as overlays both on individual tweet pages, and on tweets in your main stream. The service was active on the site earlier today, but looks as though it has been disabled as of the writing of this post. I imagine we’ll see it back very quickly.

Location services and tags seem to be the hot new thing. Every company – and their dog! – is pushing hard to get some type of location-based service added to their application prior to the SXSW conference. However… is this REALLY a good idea?

In the case of a celebrity, is it a good idea to let an over-zealous fan know where you’re having a coffee or manicure? If you’re on vacation, do you really want thieves to know that? What about people who may have a restraining order against a violent person? Letting them know where you are over Twitter may not seem like such a hot idea when they show up there to see you.

I can think of a ton of reasons why it’s a crazy idea to constantly share your location with others. However, I can’t honestly think of any solid reasons why it would be a great idea to do so. Am I missing something? Sure, it may be fun… and it may be the newest trend. But is it actually a smart idea?