Hello from GTUG Kuala Lumpur!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | 10:18 AM

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Google is very much larger than life in Malaysia. The formation of the Google Technology User Group in Kuala Lumpur says it all during its first meetup on 27th June 2009. Fondly known as GTUG KL, it's an independent technology user group that focuses on Google technology and services and is the first one in Southeast Asia. GTUG KL currently has about 92 members and 23 of them attended the meetup. We had a number of lightning talks that contributed towards making this a successful and engaging event.

Hello Android

Nazrul kicked off the meetup by presenting a talk on the Android software stack. The main focus was on the Android marketplace and how easy it is to start publishing your apps and the challenges faced by developers in the Malaysian mobile market. There was also a brief demo of the Android SDK using the Eclipse plugin.

Kegan Gan, MalaysiaCrime.com, AirSense & 5 things you need to know

Kegan was concerned about the growing crime rate in Malaysia, especially where he lives. With a new member in his family, he was getting serious about it and started up a project called MalaysiaCrime.com. The website uses the Google Maps API and has custom designed markers to indicate what type of crimes are "hot" in an area. You can even post and report crimes in your area using the website.

Next up was Airsense, a high resolution aerial photography project. It adds a new tile overlay over the map with the latest aerial image of an area. Kegan also shared his 5 tips while working on Google Maps API using JavaScript.

Marvin Lee, Introduction to OpenSocial in 5 minutes

Marvin, one of last year's winners of the Google Southeast Asia OpenSocial contest, presented an overview on how to start developing OpenSocial gadgets. He also showed a latest update on his What Say U? OpenSocial app using the Google Friend Connect API.

Lim Chee Aun, My Google App Engine apps

Chee Aun is a well known Mozilla community developer coming from Penang. He talked about Google App Engine projects that he has been building.

Colin Charles, using Google Sites

Colin called Google Sites a faster and simpler version of MS Access. Not because he's a database guy, but because he was particularly impressed at how easy it is to setup your own simple online database using Google Sites. He liked the List Items feature because it was really easy to create a form and start populating the list with data. He demonstrated by showing a list of politicians in Malaysia using social media to stay connected online. You can check it out at http://spot.bytebot.net.

Richard Azlan Abas, my G1 Android phone

Razlan was the only one with a G1 Android phone at the meet-up. He explained why he doesn't carry a laptop anymore, ever since he got a G1 Android phone. The slideout QWERTY keypad & the Google apps accessing his email, documents & news impressed him the most. He can access all that using his G1 Android phone. He was also particularly hot on Android applications and calls for all Android developers in Malaysia to step up the game.

Harmeshver Singh, using Google Sketchup is easy

Resh spoke about how easy it is to use Google Sketchup compared to other 3D modelling tools he has tried. Being an IT student, all that he wanted was something easy to work with. Google Sketchup does just that for him.

Ikhwan Nazri, OfficeKami project

Ikhwan presented his OfficeKami project. OfficeKami is a project started by the guys from Flavert Media Lab, creators of Flash mobile applications in KL. What does it do? Simple: to share with other mobile warriors (as preferred by Ikhwan) suitable mobile office hotspots in Klang valley & all around Malaysia. For every new location these mobile warriors have been to, they willl follow up with a blog post detailing the basic amenities (critical for any mobile warriors) and best of all, they marked the locations on Google Maps.

The lightning talks took almost 2 hours with exchange of opinions, debates and jokes all around between attendees. It was good to see that there was some healthy discussion to be had.

It was then time to vote for the best lightning talks. By the power of crowdsource, the people voted Ikhwan as the best presenter for the day. He went home with the best geek toy you could have on your table, a Google USB transforming hub. And yes, it transforms!

This was the first meetup for GTUG KL. Fun, hot discussions, curious and of course, a lot of sharing and caring. You can also read a nice wrap up post by Marvin Lee and view the meetup photos. If you're in Malaysia (or even if you're not!) and would like to mingle with like-minded Google fans, please join our next meetup in KL. The more the merrier! Check us out at http://sites.google.com/site/gtugkl for upcoming events.

To learn more about Google Technology User Groups, to find one in your area, or to start up your own, please visit gtugs.org.

(This post originally appeared on the Solutions for Southeast Asia blog.)