The Apple+Google Hype, iPhoto, and a Reality Check


One of the things I detest about being a Mac user is the signal-to-noise ratio in Mac-related news. I've ranted on this topic at length before, but I never expected Infinite Loop to kick off one of the rounds, based on this find inside the "new" iPhoto's Localizable.strings file.

I've mused on the impacts of Eric Schmidt joining the Apple board myself, but one has to have a sense of proportion on these things.

iPhoto has had support for GPS information in EXIF tags since $DIVINITY knows when (I ought to know, since I have a vague recollection of having posted about its debut, but I can't find the post anymore) but I've been playing around with AppleScript and exiftool for a few weeks, and let me tell you this much -

It would be news if it worked consistently.

Anyway, GPS information is displayed on the "Exposure" tab in version 5.0.4 of iPhoto, which is what I use on my iBook (given that version 6 has all those clever feature restrictions that disable all the nice bits on G3 processors). It mostly works, although I have yet to find a decent way to make sure iPhoto (any version) lets me manage and export all the tags (GPS, notes, keywords, whatnot) correctly.

What About iPhoto Before 6.0.5?

On to the conspiracy theory bit. First off, I'd love to know if someone who hasn't upgraded their iPhoto recently can find this string. I can only check 5.0.4 and 6.0.5, so I can't disprove this being "new" (but I'd honestly love to).

Update: matt posted a comment wherein he states:

To satisfy your curiosity, the same string exists in my copy of iPhoto, which is 6.0.4, so it's not new in 6.0.5.

But that is somewhat tangential to my main point - Do you know how much effort it takes to generate a Google Maps URL?

Roll Your Own Google Partnership

Well, practically zilch. This very Wiki has them in droves, with a simple one-line addition to the InterWikiMap. All you need to do is to tack on the coordinates and a description between parenthesis, like so:

38.707566,-9.136441 (Praça do Comércio)

My Wiki markup for this, thanks to the Geo one-liner in InterWikiMap, is:

[Sample|Geo:38.707566,-9.136441 (Praça do Comércio)]

...which gives: Sample

This is such a trivial thing to add to any application that finding the URL prefix for doing this in iPhoto is worth just about zilch where it regards being "proof" of an Apple/Google partnership.

And you'd think that if this was an actual feature under development, they would at least have added the photo caption to the URL, no? As it is, the URL would display a rather bland generic balloon - that's so un-Apple that I don't think they'd go there...

The only thing this find proves, in my opinion, is that the spirit of leaving easter eggs in applications is still alive and well at Apple - just because people haven't found a "normal" way (a hidden key combo, etc.) for activating the "Show" button doesn't mean it's not there.

Buy hey, we've been over this before with the "iPhone support in iTunes" frenzy before - remember this? or this (or even the original piece?).

Like Mark Pilgrim put it regarding digg users -

...“goldfish memories can last as long as three months.” Which puts them approximately 47 days ahead of the collective memory of Digg.

Based on the amount of "non-news" I routinely sift through on my Mac-related RSS feeds, my current estimate for the collective memory of the Apple rumor mills is around a third of digg users'.

Update: The madness has started already (via Techmeme):


Notice how a gazillion people post this as news, and how the speculation snowballs...

So that I expect this Apple/Google thing to become another recurrent rumor until Apple digs out the Sherlock codebase, cleans it up a bit and starts doing real Google integration.

Ha. You wish... They won't even do the obvious thing and move .Mac to a Google infrastructure...

Picking up the two cows meme again, people found a drop of milk and assume there are two cows hidden in the closet.