Google on Friday sent out press invites for a Maps event in San Francisco next week. The event will be hosted by Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps and Google Earth, who will give a “behind-the-scenes” look at the “next dimension” of the company’s Map service, hinting at a new 3D mapping feature. Apple is reportedly planning to drop Google Maps from its devices and as BGR exclusively reported earlier this week, is expected to debut its own 3D maps service at its WWDC on June 11th. Google’s event is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. PST on June 6th.
Apple has been using Google Maps since it launched the iPhone in 2007. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt even joined Steve Jobs on the stage during the handset’s announcement. The two companies’ relationship has dwindled, however, with the success of Google’s own Android mobile operating system that competes directly with the iPhone. A new report from 9To5Mac suggests that the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, will feature an in-house maps application, ending the Cupertino-based company’s reliance on Google Maps. According to the website’s anonymous sources, the application is said to be similar to iOS’s current Google Maps program, however it was described as both cleaner and faster, and will deliver a more reliable experience and an enhanced 3D mode. Apple’s in-house service will reportedly be based on mapping technology it acquired from purchasing Placebase, C3 Technologies and Poly9. More →
Google Maps has been updated to allow users to access new “photo tours” within the service. The feature uses contributed photos from around the world that are stitched together to give a 3D photo scene of a popular location. Photo tours are available for more than 15,000 popular sites around the world and can be initiated through Google Maps in two ways. “First, when you search for a place, such as Trevi Fountain, the results in the left panel will indicate if there is a photo tour available: click either the thumbnail image or the link to start the tour,” Google wrote on its blog. “Alternatively, if you’re browsing the map and click on the label for a particular landmark, the info window that appears will indicate if a photo tour is available.” The tours require Google Maps with WebGL and are available now. A photo tour demonstration follows below. More →
Most online April Fool’s jokes are, to put it as kindly as possible, awful. Of all the companies that try to put creative “pranks” together, however, Google is among the best at managing April Fool’s stunts that are geeky enough to be laughed at in a good way rather than an uncomfortable, “I can’t believe someone thought this would be clever” way. This year, Google cooked up a creative new feature for Google Maps that lets users tour America with 8-bit graphics that will make any NES fan shed a nostalgic tear. As an added bonus, the Zelda-like U.S. landscape in this new version of Maps transforms into an 8-bit Street View when the user zooms in all the way. A link to Google’s 8-bit America follows below along with a screenshot of Street View. More →
According to legal documents for its upcoming hearing with Oracle, between 2008 and 2011 Android generated less than $550 million in revenue for Google. Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, which use Google Maps and search, generated more than four times as much revenue for the Mountain View-based company during the same time frame, The Guardian reported on Thursday. Roughly 100 million Android devices have been activated since the end of 2011, with an average of 850,000 devices activated each day, suggesting that Google pulls in slightly more than $10 per Android handset each year. Google CEO Larry Page said during an earnings call in October that the company was “seeing a huge positive revenue impact from mobile, which has grown 2.5 times in the last 12 months to a run rate of over $2.5 billion.” Page’s comments indicate that a large sum of Google’s mobile revenue comes from services outside of its Android ecosystem. Since the release of the iPhone, Google has had a deal with Apple to offer its Maps and search services on the popular handset, which may contribute largely to the company’s $2.5 billion in mobile revenue. More →
A Florida firm has filed a claim alleging that Google and Apple are both infringing on its mapping technology, PaidContent reported on Monday. PanoMap Technologies filed the complaint in an Orlando federal court, stating the use of Google Maps “Street View” feature in the iPad and iPhone violates U.S. Patent No. 6,563,529. The patent covers an “interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images.” The company wants Apple and Google to pay triple damages, asserting that the two tech giants knew about the patent but had ignored it. To support its allegations, PanoMap claims that Apple visited a website that showcased the patent in 2007 and Google cited the patent in its own recent patent application. The Google Maps Street View function allows users to zoom in and see an interactive photograph of houses, street corners and more. The patent was issued in 2003 and transferred to a shell company called Empire IP last year. In early February it was again transferred to PanoMap Technologies. The patent describes a technique to adjust a camera position from place to place and include it in a map image. More →
Google has been ordered to pay €500,000 to Bottin Cartographes, a French company that filed a lawsuit against Google France after it began providing its free Google Maps services to customers. Google is also responsible for paying an additional €15,000 in fees. The court found Google “guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Google Maps application,” Economic Times said Thursday. ”We proved the illegality of [Google's] strategy to remove its competitors… the court recognized the unfair and abusive character of the methods used and allocated Bottin Cartographes all it claimed,” Botton Cartographes lawyer Jean-David Scemmama said. “This is the first time Google has been convicted for its Google Maps application.” Google said it will appeal the decision. “We remain convinced that a free high-quality mapping tool is beneficial for both Internet users and websites,” a Google spokesperson said. “There remains competition in this sector for us, both in France and internationally.” Google was also fined €100,000 in France last year after a court found it guilty of collecting private information for the Street View feature of Google Maps.
Beating out popular own-brand apps like Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube, Facebook holds the title as the most actively used Android app. Market research firm Nielsen on Monday published the findings of a month-long study to determine the most-used Android apps currently available for the platform. The study made use of Nielsen’s proprietary on-device monitoring software, which has been voluntarily installed by thousands of panelists across the country. Beyond the Android Market itself, Facebook was the most actively-used app on the Android platform over the past 30 days in all age brackets. Among users aged 18 to 24, Google Search was the second most used app in the firm’s new study with 77% of panelists having opened the app over the past 30 days. Gmail and Google Maps followed with 79% a piece, and YouTube slid in behind them with 64%. Following the suite of Google apps was Pandora Radio with a distant 30%. A similar study conducted by Nielsen in July found that Facebook was the third most popular app behind Google Maps and Gmail. Read on for more. More →
Google has announced a new privacy option that allows users to opt out of having their wireless routers included in the Google Location Server. That’s right, you have to opt out, not in. Here’s how Google Location Server works: when you’re walking around town trying to figure out your location using your smartphone and Google Maps, your phone can either use GPS or a faster, more battery efficient method that determines your location based on local wireless networks. Google maintains a database of local wireless access points but, if you don’t want to be included in it, you can simply change your router SSID (the network name that you broadcast) to include “_nomap” at the end of the access point name. Once you’ve done that, Google will not include your wireless access point in its Google Location Server database. “As we explored different approaches for opting-out access points from the Google Location Server, we found that a method based on wireless network names provides the right balance of simplicity as well as protection against abuse,” Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Felischer said in a blog post. “Specifically, this approach helps protect against others opting out your access point without your permission.” More →
Beginning January 1st, Google will start charging a fee to developers and websites that frequently access its Google Maps API service, BBC reported recently. Developers will apparently be charged $4 for every 1,000 views after Google Maps is accessed more than 25,000 times in a single 24-hour period. BBC said Google expects the changes will only affect 0.35% of its user base. “We understand that the introduction of these limits may be concerning,” Google Maps product manager Thor Mitchell said. “However, with the continued growth in adoption of the Maps API, we need to secure its long-term future by ensuring that even when used by the highest-volume for-profit sites, the service remains viable.” More →
Market research firm Nielsen on Tuesday revealed the 20 most popular Android applications in the United States. Using data obtained from metered device usage as opposed to observations from surveys as most similar data is collected, Nielsen studied Android owners’ app usage over the past month. The result is a ranking of the platform’s top-20 applications by active reach, or the percentage of Android device owners who used each app within the past 30 days. Google’s Android Market topped the charts overall as well as among men and women alike, with a reach of nearly 91%. Google Maps was the second most popular app overall with a reach of 74.6%, and the app was No. 2 behind the Android Market for men with 77.1%. Gmail was third among men (75.5%), Google Search was fourth (72.4%) and Facebook rounded out the top-5 (66.9%). Among women, Facebook (81%) was second behind the Android Market, followed by Gmail (73.4%), Google Maps (71.9%) and Google Search (71.3%). More →
Google announced on Tuesday that it has added support for 3D buildings in 13 additional cities on Google Maps, including London, Paris, Barcelona, Stockholm, Singapore, Lisbon, Boulder, and 11 cities in South Africa. Until Tuesday, the feature was available in just a handful of other metropolitan areas, including New York, Milan, and Zurich. To activate 3D buildings in one of the aforementioned locations, simply zoom in close to the city and the application will then show a 3D renders of the city landscape. A software update is not required if you already have the latest version of Google Maps installed on a device running Android 2.0 or newer. More →
Google took the wraps off of Google Maps 5.7 for Android devices on Wednesday, and the software update adds quite a few new features. The most noteworthy addition is Google’s Transit Navigation beta feature, which provides navigation instructions for public transportation in more than 400 cities around the globe. You don’t have to leave it open, either. Once you’ve started your trip, Transit Navigation will automatically remind you with an alert when your stop is coming up. Google also made it easier to find driving or walking directions in one click, improved search suggestions with category icons, and added a photo viewer to the Places feature of Google Maps. The update is available free from the Android Market for devices running Android 2.1 or newer. Hit the jump for a video of Transit Navigation beta in action. More →