It looks like the gang from Mountain View have pushed Google Maps 5.2 to the Android Market. Aside from the standard performance improvements, the update adds the ability to post place-ratings directly to Twitter and “ping” friends to request check-ins. Google reminds you that both parties using Maps must be on version 5.2 to take advantage of the ping feature… so be a friend and remind your amigos to update. More →
Apple released its first developer build of iOS 4.3 on Wednesday and needless to say, developers have been on a treasure hunt ever since. We compiled a list of new iOS features last night, but an interesting one popped up early this morning. The forthcoming addition, found buried in the iOS code, is called “Find My Friends.” The purpose of the service is unknown for the time being, but the code suggests that it is tied to MobileMe. The name of the forthcoming feature obviously leads us to believe that Apple plans to add location sharing to MobileMe, likely in line with Google Latitude, which allows users to broadcast their locations to friends. More details will surely follow as new iOS 4.3 beta builds are released. More →
So you just read our Nexus S review and are feeling a bit jealous of the new device, it’s understandable. Your current Android handset may not have all the computational prowess of the latest and greatest “pure Google” offering, but rest assured knowing that you can get your hands on some of the software goodies the device runs (no, not Android 2.3… yet). Google has just dropped Maps 5.0 into the Android Market for your downloading pleasure. The new bits include 3D mapping, vector-based mapping, offline rerouting and navigating, as well as offline map storage. It all looks so sexy. Hit the jump to check out a quick promo video from Google then be sure to download the new goodies from the market. Enjoy! More →
Yesterday, at the AllThingsD conference, Google’s Andy Rubin demoed a new, improved version of Google Maps that is due to hit Android devices “in a matter of days.” Mr. Rubin was careful not to give up too much information, saying he wanted to allow the Maps team to have the honors of detailing the new application, but he did give us several key pieces of information. First, the new version of Maps will be available, for the time being, for Android devices only (phones and tablets) and will be vector based. The vector-based maps allow for smoother scrolling, dynamic content loading, and less data being transferred over the network. Second, the new Maps will store maps that you query ofter for lightning-quick load times. If you always find yourself searching for restaurants or coffee shops in Times Square, that map will cache locally on your phone (it will even be able to used cached maps to navigate when offline).
Although not mentioned during his interview, Engadget is reporting that the new Maps will be supported by the Galaxy S, Nexus S, DROID, DROID x, DROID 2, DROID Incredible, EVO 4G, and G2 smartphones. Mr. Rubin did also say the version works on tablets, so we’re guessing that the Galaxy Tab will have the dubious honor of running these new bits as well.
It is a pretty exciting time to be a member of the Android family! More →
Nokia has just made a new, beta version of its Ovi Maps suite available for download via the Beta Labs channel. The update, version number 3.6, allows users to download street maps directly to their device using Wi-Fi, features a new, unified “My Position” and “Search” feature, improves transit line display, and betters compass calibration on your device. If you’re a Symbian user, and want to try out the new goods, head on over to Nokia’s Labs site and have yourself a download. More →
On a brisk day in October almost a year ago, Google announced Android 2.0 alongside the Motorola DROID. On that same day, satellite navigation companies like Garmin and TomTom saw their stock prices deflate faster than Yankees fans’ spirits in the sixth inning last night. This was no coincidence. With Android 2.0, Google announced the addition of free satellite-guided turn-by-turn navigation to its popular Google Maps service. Garmin and TomTom both saw mobile as a big part of their futures, and here Google was breaking the space wide open. How can paid services possibly compete?
Netherlands-based navigation giant TomTom found at least one possible answer to that question this morning when it announced a new partnership with HTC. It is becoming increasingly difficult to sell smartphone-based navigation products directly to consumers, so the key is to get manufacturers and carriers to pay for these solutions — and to pay for new solutions that utilize the current Location Based Services (LBS) craze. TomTom, after all, provides much more functional and polished mobile navigation solutions than Google ever will.
The new deal announced this morning places TomTom’s maps in HTC’s new integrated navigation solution, HTC Locations, which HTC calls a “zero-wait navigation experience”. The service will initially be available on the HTC Desire HD and HTC Desire Z, and only in Europe and Asia. HTC Locations will expand to new devices and regions, though no further release schedule was provided.
The catch? HTC Locations will be free to end users, along with some basic functionality. Turn-by-turn navigation, however, will be a premium paid add-on, making it a much less appealing option than it could have been if HTC ate the expense as a value-add. Unless HTC decides to block Google Maps Navigation from its HTC Locations-equipped devices, we don’t see this new deal going very far at all. Sorry TomTom, looks like you’ll have to reroute your trip yet again. More →
Today, Google announced that it would be updating its Google Maps application for the Android operating system to include voice-guided walking navigation and a new, improved search bar. As Google explains:
Walking Navigation lets you use GPS navigation with walking directions that are more direct and use pedestrian pathways when we know about them. To try it now, choose the “Walking” option from the Navigation icon. Walking Navigation has a few changes that help when you’re on your feet. For example, your phone will vibrate when you need to make a turn. You can even turn off voice guidance and just use these notifications while soaking in the sights and sounds around you. To help you orient yourself with your surroundings, the map will rotate with you as you turn the phone, and walking mode uses satellite view by default.
The new search bar will now always be located at the top of the map for easy searching and facilitate the filtering of places by distance, rating, prices, and cross streets. The application is in the Android Market as we type and available for all handsets running OS 1.6 or higher.
Reuters is reporting that search giant Google had an office in Seoul, South Korea raided by police earlier today. The Korean National Police Agency said they “have been investigating Google Korea LLC on suspicion of unauthorized collection and storage of data on unspecified Internet users from Wi-Fi networks.” Google has been collecting data in South Korea since late last year in preparation for the launch of the Street View service. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, as well as other European governments, are also looking into allegations that Google illegally collected and stored information from Wi-Fi networks while conducting its Street View surveys. Google has yet to comment on the South Korean raid. More →
Alright, I need to get this off my chest. I’m an iPhone user, and as such the one thing that makes me stark-raving green with envy is Android’s implementation of Google Maps (and Google Voice, but mostly Maps). Full OS integration? Check. Free turn-by-turn navigation? Check. And — as of today — location aware venue recommendations? Check.
Google has introduced a new feature into the Maps for Android application that aims to bring Yelp-like, location based functionality right to your phone. Search restaurants, coffee shops, bars, ATM’s, gas stations… you name it. The new Places application gives you one-touch access to reviews, directions, pertinent venue information and more. All this is neatly wrapped up and packed into the latest Maps update and integrated right into the Android OS. Version 4.4, is in the Android Market and available for download now. Go get em! More →
Today, RIM announced an update to its BlackBerry Locate Service that will allow developers to use GPS-free cellular triangulation to acquire location information in their apps. As RIM states:
Users can be indoors with no GPS coverage, but your app will still be able to guide them to restaurants or points of interest (POI) around them. Although the accuracy of the fixes obtained from the Geolocation service may not always be as high as with GPS, it has use cases for apps that require highly accurate GPS fixes as well as apps that do not. Apps that require high accuracy can use this service to quickly show the user an approximate location while it waits for a more accurate location fix using GPS. This can offer a huge user experience improvement. For applications that do not require high accuracy, this service can be leveraged as a simple yet effective mechanism to provide location information.
Obviously this technology is not new, as it has been in use by many platforms for quite some time, but it is nice to see RIM continuing to add functionality to the BlackBerry platform, and we know from first-hand experience, that this is a very, very useful service for BlackBerry developers. More →
A report in the Wednesday edition of the French Canadian news site cyberpresse.ca suggests that Apple has acquired Poly9, a Canadian company that develops a web-based mapping program. According to the report, Poly9 has shuttered its Canadian office and pulled down its website. All of Poly9’s employees have been relocated to Apple’s Cupertino campus and are forbidden to speak of the deal due to confidentiality agreements that were presumably signed as part of the acquisition. Apple has not officially commented on the acquistion so we will have to wait and wonder what the Cupertino company is planning to do with the second mapping company it has taken under its wing. Any thoughts?
Google came clean on its blog yesterday and admitted to accidentally collecting personal data while canvassing positioning data during Street View sweeps. The potentially damaging revelation came after the data protection authority (DPA) in Hamburg, Germany requested Google’s Street view data due to privacy concerns. An internal review of the collected data revealed that the software Google was using to compile and map SSID’s was also recording a portion of the of data that was being transmitted from those same Wi-Fi routers.
For those that unaware of the practice, Google Street View and other companies that provide Wi-Fi-based Location based services will travel around cities and towns collecting publicly broadcast SSID information. These SSIDs are then stored in a database with their associated GPS co-ordinates. This SSID-GPS information is then used in Wi-Fi triangulation. To slightly assuage fears of a widespread privacy breach, Google confirmed that the flaw only recorded personal data from open, non-password protected WiFi routers. Regardless of the extent of the breach, this could potentially explode in the face of Google and other similar mapping companies that collect public information from personal Wi-Fi routers. More →
Much to the chagrin of iPhone users across the globe, Google has stated for the record that it will not be bringing Google Maps Navigation to the iPhone. Yesterday it was reported that Google’s Mobile Maps product manager promised iPhone users that the free turn-by-turn will be available in the App Store in the future. Definitely bad news for iPhone users, but on the plus side Google did confirm that app will be ported to other mobile platforms. Apple users, do not despair just yet: you still have the unknown potential of PlaceBase, no? More →