The World Wonders Project


There are a lot of amazing sites around the world, and thanks to Google’s various technologies such as Street View and Google Earth they’re easier to explore than ever. Google has now taken 132 historic sites from around the world and put them together into a single showcase called the World Wonders Project.



The project covers major sites that we all know about, such as Stonehenge and Pompeii, and also covers lesser-known sites that are quite amazing, such as the Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama. This video shows a bit more about how it works:



The sites all include Street View imagery (much of which was captured using a Street View Trike), photos, videos, and 3D models in Google Earth.

Sharing Rich Content From Your Android Apps, to Google+ and Beyond

Many developers have been using Android’s share intent to help their users share content with others, directly from their apps. With the recently-launched ShareCompat library, you can now help your users share rich content with their friends (like images and videos) more easily, and the items they share include attribution to your app. All you need to do is add a few lines of code!

I’ll walk through a few examples that use Google+ as the application handler, but of course, these share intent improvements can work for any service. Popular apps like Foodspotting, Pulse News, and Shazam are already using ShareCompat to help users share rich content with their Google+ circles. You can check out this photo album to see how they are all taking advantage of the new library.

Creating the Share Intent

If you’d like users to be able to share text from your app, start by building the following intent:

Intent shareIntent = ShareCompat.IntentBuilder.from(ShareActivity.this)
   .setText("This site has lots of great information about Android!")


Here, I passed text and a URL to the setText method, and I used the setType method to identify the content as “text/plain.” The intent builder can then pass this information to the application that’s doing the sharing. Additionally, I used the setPackage method to specify the application that I want to handle it. In this case, the Google+ application is specified.

The Google+ share box with pre-populated text and link snippet.

2012 Model Your Town Competition

Over the past several months, hundreds of teams from all over the world have submitted stunning geo-models for our Google Model Your Town Competition. These examples of pure 3D civic pride are breathtaking to behold. Difficult as it was, the SketchUp team managed to pick six finalists, after which we asked the general public to vote for their favorite collection of models. Tens of thousands of you weighed in, and the talented team from the north of Spain were victorious. Zorionak! (That’s “Congratulations!” in Basque.)

The winning team is a dynamic duo: Josetxo Perez Fernandez, 36, is a professional who works in computer administration; and Pedro Domecq Aguirre, 45, is a programmer, 3D data specialist and network administrator. Those are their day jobs, anyway. It turns out that they’re actually world-class, polygon-wrangling, texture-mapping, megabyte-optimizing, geo-modeling superheroes. And now they’re bona fide local heroes, too. Thanks to them, millions of people across the globe can now get familiar with the beautiful little town of Getaria.



The beautiful coastline of Getaria

Not only that, but we’ll also be awarding US$25,000 to a local school and hosting a celebration with the town of Geteria in honor of Pedro’s and Josetxo’s accomplishment.



Getaria Lighthouse on Mount San Antón

Zorionak to the winning town, to the other five finalists, and to all the other entrants who collectively modeled almost 25,000 local landmarks that are now available for all to enjoy in Google Earth’s 3D Buildings layer. The virtual world is a richer place thanks to your efforts, and the real one is a lot better off, too.