Google today launched their new Google ebookstore and Google Books app (free). They say that the store has over 400,000 books available for purchase and over 2 million free ebooks. As is typical, the app lets you change the font and search inside the book. It also has night-reading mode and offline reading mode. Your books are stored in the cloud. Read more about the using the iOS app on their website.
The iPhone now has a bulit-in tethering option — that is, using your iPhone's data connection to give your laptop computer or other device access to the Internet. But that Internet connection can only be shared with one device via a USB connection. No WiFi option. Until now. The Nexaira Business Class II is a wireless router that gets its Internet connection from your iPhone and shares it via WiFi to other devices. It's not cheap, at $189.99, and it's not as portable as the MiFi.
You need to calibrate this so that it's accurate, so I haven't taken the time to try it. But they claim that you can actually use your iPhone as a thermometer. You can see a video of the process of calibrating the Thermos app ($1.99), and then see it actually measure the temperature, on YouTube.
This is a cool new idea. GPSNotifier for iPhone 4 ($1.99) sounds an alarm when you're in a specified location. It's an alarm based not on time but on where you are. Want to remember to pick up a specific item next time you're near a Walmart store? Set an alarm. Although a great concept, one limitation of the app is its granularity: it's limited by the number of cell phone towers in your area, such that you might only be able to specify that you're within one mile or more of the location you have in mind. Still, it could be quite useful.
Today's batch of press releases brings yet another app for my in-progress article on creative uses of the iPhone camera. Money Scan x2 ($0.99) is an app that helps you detect counterfeit money. What will they think of next? The description says that it works with all currencies. It appears to simply magnify and illuminate the currency, rather than itself detecting counterfeit bills.
The free Google Mobile App was already pretty amazing, with the ability to search the web just by speaking into your phone. And early this month they released a new version that includes Google Goggles: a search function that lets you take a photo and then searches the web based on what's in the photo. You can take a photo of a barcode, landmark, product, text, artwork, book, etc., and the app will return information. The help screens say that the app doesn't work very well for items like animals, apparel, or furniture.
The website 148Apps yesterday opened nominations for their third annual Best App Ever Awards. There are 32 different categories of apps. Nominations will be accepted through December 31. This competition is a great way to highlight useful apps for the iPhone. Click here to see last year's winners.
If you're shopping and wonder whether the item you're considering could be more cheaply purchased via Amazon, a new app helps you do just that. Price Check by Amazon (free) lets you search for the product you have in mind in four different ways: you can say the name of the product, use the iPhone's camera to read the bar code, take a photo of the item, or enter the name of the product. The app uses the same voice recognition technology that powers the popular Dragon NaturallySpeaking. (iPhone 4 and 3GS only)