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 →
Apple has big plans for location services according to a new job listing posted by the Cupertino, California-based company. In a listing for a new “OS QA Location Engineer,” Apple said the candidate will “join a dynamic team responsible for qualifying the latest iOS products, working on exciting new features for iOS location services.” The job also requires “familiarity with GPS, A-GPS, LBS, or navigation algorithms” and “experience with cellular technologies.” Apple has already said that it wants to “radically improve” its current iOS Maps application, which we would argue certainly needs an update, so it is possible the job could be on that team. In addition, Apple included a new location-based Reminders application inside iOS 5, which will launch to the public in the fall. Perhaps the company has similar ideas in store. 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 →
Google — noting that 40% of its Google Maps users are on mobile devices — updated its Google Maps Web app for iOS and Android today. We’ve been pretty satisfied with the native applications on Android and iOS, but the website allows you to access many of the options that are available from a desktop browser, too. That includes the ability to view your location, search nearby areas with suggestions and auto-complete, get directions for driving, transit, biking, or walking, view different lays, view Place pages, and access your starred locations. We’re particularly excited about the option for accessing our starred locations, a feature that’s not available in the native iOS application. You can access the revamped interface by visiting maps.google.com from your iOS or Android device. More →
Several new features set to be introduced in Microsoft’s upcoming “Mango” update for Windows Phone were revealed this past weekend. We already knew that Mango is set to be a major update to the Windows Phone platform — perhaps the most anticipated new feature is improved multitasking support — but Microsoft had been keeping several upcoming additions under wraps. Newly revealed features include Bing Audio, which will identify songs by listening to music, a la Shazam; Bing Vision, which will provide barcode scanning along with a host of camera-assisted search functions; the addition of turn-by-turn navigation to Bing Maps; speech recognition support in the messaging app; and a new native podcast player. None of these new features have been confirmed by Microsoft at this point but considering the proven track record of the source, it looks like Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 update is going to be even more exciting than we thought. More →
Just moments ago on stage at BlackBerry World 2011, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (no, the other one is also CMO, dummy) announced a strategic mobile partnership with Microsoft (translation: we’re super scared of Andy Rubin). Starting around the holiday timeframe, Microsoft’s Bing maps and search will be the preferred search and mapping solutions for BlackBerry products. We’re talking about a system-level integration, “far beyond a search box,” RIM said. Check out our live coverage of RIM’s BlackBerry World 2011 keynote for more!
Included in Apple’s “Q&A on Location Data” press release this morning was a rare and concrete statement that pointed to a future project the company is working on. “Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years,” reads the release. Currently, iOS offers its users traffic-data through the bundled Google Maps application. It is unclear whether Apple is collecting this information to supplement the aforementioned offering, or — as rumors suggest — to build a new application that is less reliant on Google. Either way, it is an unusual statement from the Cupertino-based company about a future service. More →
In a recent blog post, Nokia reaffirmed its commitment to the Windows Phone ecosystem by offering us a glimpse at what is to come. The company’s CEO, Stephen Elop, has noted that Nokia has “shifted from a mode of developing” its strategy to one of “putting that strategy into action.” Part of the Finnish phone giants plans involve bringing some of Nokia’s strengths to all members of the Windows Phone family, and one of the most exciting Symbian ports will definitely be Ovi Maps. “Nokia will supply mapping and location-based services for the Windows Phone ecosystem, building on the success it’s experienced with Ovi Maps,” reads the blog post. The company also notes that a “Nokia-branded application store” will be present on the company’s Windows Phone hardware. The CEO also went on to say that Nokia is hard at work in the hardware department, and quipped that his company would “define some of the future disruptions in our market.” More →
Google Maps has hit a new milestone as the first Android application to surpass the 50 million download mark. The free application has seen many revisions since its public introduction in 2008 — as part of Android 1.6 — and now includes 3D modeling with multi-touch zoom and panning, free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, and support for Google’s Latitude and Places products. Given that it’s available on every iteration of Android — that we can think of — we’re not surprised to learn it’s the most downloaded application ever. Congrats to the Google Maps team. More →
The brood over at PreCentral have managed to acquire a leaked copy of HP’s webOS 3.0 beta 1 software development kit (SDK). Why is this a good thing? Because contained within said SDK rests a TouchPad, webOS 3.0 emulator, of course. While emulators only provide 50% of the TouchPad story — the other half being hardware — it is useful to get a high-level overview of what user interface will look like. If you want to whet your appetite for this summers TouchPad release, hit the jump. There’s an eighteen minute video overview awaiting your scrutiny. Be sure to click through the read link as well for a host of screen grabs. More →
Gameloft has updated its popular Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus game with several new features. The update includes 10 free XP levels and three new multiplayer maps — including an Eastern European bunker, a new battlefield, and a shanty town in South Africa. Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus includes an extensive single player campaign and also allows up to ten players to battle against each other at once in four different multiplayer modes (Battle, Team Battle, Defuse the Comb, and Capture the Flag). The update is free, and if you haven’t installed the game yet, it’s available in the iTunes App Store for $6.99 for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Hit the jump for a link to the download. More →
Recently, Google announced an update to its Maps application for Android. Bearing version number 5.3, the update brings new location features that target Latitude an Hotpot users. “If you’ve enabled Location History for Google Latitude, you’ve been able to visualize interesting trends in your location history with a personal dashboard at google.com/latitude on your computer,” writes Google. “Now, you can also see your dashboard on your phone by tapping View location history from your Latitude profile.” The second feature allows Maps users rating locales via Places or Hotpot to input their own, personalized aspects of their location — as opposed to Google doing it automatically. Google Maps 5.3 is in the Android Market and requires software version 1.6 or higher. More →
At SXSW, Google’s VP of Location and Local Services, Marissa Mayer, took the stage and dished out some interesting Google data, including mobile stats. During her talk, Mayer revealed the following statistics we found interesting:
- 40% of all Google Maps usage is from mobile devices, and Christmas and New Years day mobile usage surpassed desktop usage for the first time.
- 150 million mobile users on Google Maps
- Google Maps Navigation, included on Android handsets, has guided users 12 billion miles a year, and the latest version with traffic routing saves users 2 years per day in time that would have been spent in traffic.
- Google Maps could get smarter, and become contextually aware. For instance, if you were trying to catch a flight, Google Maps could see your flight schedule to see when your flight was, then look and analyze real-time traffic data and weather conditions to try and figure out the exact time you should leave
- Google would like there to be better Google Maps for iPhone. “We like being the default provider, but we’d like to get some of these updates out to a broader audience. That’s still a debate/question we’re considering.”
With Google’s Android explosion continuing, it looks like there will plenty more Google Maps and Navigation users over the next few years.