Google + Kiosks = Coolness!

Wow, I sure hope the rumors about a Google Kiosk project are true. I like Google and I like Kiosks. Here in Oregon I was involved in computer kiosks for over ten years. Back in 1990 I managed one of the USA’s earliest multimedia projects using IBM Infowindow Touch monitors, computers, and laserdisc players. That was a US Forest Service partnership with my former employer the Southern Oregon Visitors Association, and we had 30 units in tourism places all over Southern Oregon.

This project led to a new project I designed and deployed as part of a SOVA, State, and National Scenic Byways partnership that put internet connected units in about 15 places. The internet solved many of the problems with the early kiosk project such as real time information availability, though it brought a host of new problems with rural connectivity issues and eventually a lack of enthusiasm for a complicated, grant driven project.

Could Google bring the necessary ingredients to make Kiosks commercially viable? I think they could by deploying broadly and with enough of an advertising footprint to interest national players who would appreciate being both in the programs and on the sides of the cabinets.

Good luck Google, I’ll always root for touch computer kiosks!

Related link – HUGE touchscreen with mapping demo – fantastic!

Passport to Canada!

Effective January 23 new US Passport rules come into effect. I predict some rather interesting stories from people who are now in the Caribbean and Canada where they did not need a passport and then return when they do. In fact I’m confused about the Canada ones – a lot of “regular” people from Detroit and other border places go back and forth regularly. They won’t like paying $100 for the passport paperwork.

Air Travel Passport requirements have been relaxed *temporarily*.   You can get to Mexico and Canada by land and sea without a passport but only until a date not yet official but appears to be January of 2008.

However if you even are considering plans to travel outside of the USA you should get a passport *now* because it tends to be a time consuming process.

Here’s an explanation of new rules