Half great, half head-slapping
You know that Google Maps is better than Apple Maps: there's probably no one outside Apple itself who would deny that Google's service has far more and richer data, and in some countries is better at finding routes. So the fact that the new Google Maps 4.11.0 release adds Apple Watch support is, in all ways, brilliant. Strike that: it's in all but one ways brilliant. As is so very often the case with Google, you have to switch on settings that you struggle to find -- in part because Google itself tells you the wrong place to look. There's an irony there in a map app by a search giant telling you the wrong place.
Google re-opens Map Maker tool in 45 countries
Google is making its Map Maker tool available to more countries with an increased level of oversight, as part of a second wave of its reopening to the public. Temporarily shut down in May due to cartographical mischief by some users, the tool can now be used in 45 countries, including the United States, with participants able to submit local mapping changes that could be added to the main Google Maps listings at a later time.
Notifications of upcoming railroad crossings an attempt to lower yearly death count
Drivers using Google Maps for navigation will soon find they will receive more notifications regarding rail crossings. The Federal Railroad Administration is said to be working with Google to add the locations of all grade crossings in the United States to the navigation app, with the turn-by-turn instructions also set to receive extra audio and visual alerts when nearing crossings, in a bid to lower the number of accidents at crossings.
Chromecast APIs aim to improve second-screen gaming
Google is giving developers even more ways to create content that works with Google Cast and the Chromecast streaming dongle. A new set of Remote Display APIs released in beta for Android and iOS will allow for developers to set up a better second screen experience than currently available, such as displaying the controls and some important information for a game on a smartphone or tablet while the main game is displayed on a connected television.
Facebook Messenger video calling rolls out globally
Facebook is making video calling via the Messenger app available to more users. Previously available in 18 countries, including the United States, the Facebook Messenger video calling has been rolled out globally for iOS and Android users, though some countries will be delayed in receiving the calls due to ongoing work to improve the service's quality in those regions.
Access to Google Map Maker denied for all while moderation system gets overhauled
Google is temporarily preventing users from being able to access the Map Maker tool, following a series of incidents concerning its misuse. Starting from tomorrow, the tool will be pulled while Google works to add some sort of moderation system to it, in order to avoid further issues such as the recent image of the Android mascot urinating on the Apple logo appearing in Google Maps.
Image on Google Maps depicts Android mascot urinating on Apple
Users of Google Maps may find an odd image if they search Pakistan. Team Android reports someone has inserted an image of the Android mascot urinating on the Apple Logo. While it is unlikely to be an addition by a Google employee, it is possible that the image was added as part of Map Maker, a system that allows users to submit edits to the map for inclusion into the main Google Maps service, with the insulting image possibly overlooked during moderation.
Pac-Man playable on Google Maps, uses streets for game board
Continuing a long tradition of April Fools' Day treats, Google has turned Google Maps into a playable version of Pac-Man. On computers, selecting the Pac-Man view in the bottom left of the screen turns part of the currently-viewed map into the game board, while mobile users will have to navigate to specific locations and select the Pac-Man map pin before playing.
Google Maps for Android updated with route-sharing option
Google has made some changes to Google Maps for Android, with some new features mirroring similar additions in the iOS update. Version 9.3 for Android introduces filtering restaurants by cuisine, as well as permanently dismissing the location settings pop-up. More importantly, Android Police notes the app has a Share Directions option, allowing the user to send an email to a contact containing instructions for following a specific route.
Beta site dropped Google content earlier in 2014
Apple has now replaced Google Maps content in the iCloud.com version of Find My iPhone with its own data, checks show. The company dropped Google from the beta iCloud website earlier this year, but left the main site intact until now. The change eliminates most, if not all, remaining Google Maps content from Apple products.
Maps gets 'material design' look in iOS, Android
Google has announced a collection of important app updates. The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android are both making the switch to "material design," the new aesthetic behind Android Lollipop. The scheme is more bright and colorful, and uses elements like animations and drop shadows to reinforce the connection between interface components. Google has also integrated OpenTable reservations for US restaurants, and pickup times and prices for Uber cars. In the latter case, users must also have their platform's Uber app installed.
Navigation in Google Maps apps enabled in 19 more countries
Google has made two changes to its Google Maps mobile apps. The app now provides navigational instructions in an additional 19 countries, bringing the total number of countries with the function enabled to 96, while users finding issues with local maps are able to notify Google of new places of interest from within the app, with corrections added to the public version of the maps at a later time.
Google Maps Explore offers nearby activities based on distance, time of day
Google is adding a new option to the Google Maps app for Android and iOS, providing suggestions for nearby locations to visit when traveling. The new "Explore" button, appearing on the apps this week, will offer up a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the immediate and surrounding area, as well as other potential activities for the user to try out.
New Explore feature points out places and activities
Google has released an update of its Google Maps client for iOS, adding several significant features. When searching for places, for instance, results will now appear directly on a map. Users can switch between this view and a more standard list.
Spotify starts accepting sign-ups for Canadian service pre-launch
Music streaming service Spotify is spreading into Canada in the near future, long after launching in a number of other major markets. While the exact date of the service's launch in the country is unknown, Engadget reports the company is accepting sign-ups for a queue to receive pre-launch invitations, suggesting that it is likely to go live for all potential users sooner rather than later.
Transition still ongoing
Apple is quietly swapping out Google Maps data in the Find My iPhone web app for its own Maps content, users note. While the change isn't complete -- some locations, such as Austin, are still using Google data -- at least some now cite "Data from TomTom, others" instead. iCloud.com is one of the last vestiges of Google Maps in Apple products, the other being listings for Apple Stores.
Google adds over 17,000 UK public transport routes to Google Maps
Google Maps has been updated to include the majority of transport routes in the United Kingdom. Over 17,000 routes have been added to the app, according to The Next Web, including data for buses, trams, coaches, trains, underground services, and ferries in the country, with details for scheduling, stops, walking between stations, and other information also provided. The update will be appearing on the Google Maps site, Android, and iOS apps today.
Uber joins as optional transit method
Google has updated its iOS and Android versions of Maps with a slate of new features. One of the most important is lane guidance during turn-by-turn navigation, telling drivers to switch or hold lanes as necessary. At the moment, lanes are only being displayed in the US and in "parts of Canada and Japan," according to Google. Navigation has also been upgraded with easier access to alternate routes while traveling.
Clock icon on Google Street View shows earlier photographs of locations
Google has updated its online Maps service by adding the option to view earlier Street View imagery. Users of Google Maps can, in a number of locations, use previously-collected Street View photographs to explore an area, and be able to compare recent shots of the location with those from the same place dated from as far back as 2007.
Facebook app for iOS autoplays videos in news feed
Facebook has updated its iOS app to automatically play videos that appear in a user's news feed. Version 6.8 of the app does have the videos set as muted by default, reports TUAW, and though there is no option to turn off the autoplay aspect of the videos, there are settings to allow it to work just on Wi-Fi connections rather than cellular. Both videos from users and advertising will be affected by the change, though it is not known when it will appear in versions on other software platforms.
Google loses nearly 80 percent of iOS users, falls on Android as well
A year ago, Apple's own Maps program - which had launched to scathing press and user reviews due to errors, graphical glitches and the dropping of transit directions - was the laughing stock of the mapping industry. Google Maps - which finally produced its own iOS app after months of playing coy - was in the catbird seat, with 81.1 million users (out of a combined 103.6 million US iOS and Android market). One year later, things have changed.
Adds new languages, help functions
Google has released an update of its iOS Maps app. Version 2.3.4 carries over recent Android upgrades, namely faster access to navigation, including route and traffic overview. A Tips and Tricks section has been added to the left-hand menu.
Google has expanded its unique Street View imagery with new content from inside the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) laboratories and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). A team used a bike-mounted camera system, known as the "Street View Trike," to explore large parts of the LHC tunnel and the ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb experiments.
Waze Map Editor gets Google satellite and Street View imagery
Google has updated its iOS and Android Maps apps with real-time incident reports culled from Waze. The alerts, submitted by Waze users, can include things like accidents, construction, road closures, and other factors affecting traffic. Only some countries have access to the data in Maps though, namely Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, the UK and the US.
Google Views collects user Photo Spheres, maps out locations
Google has launched a new site for publicly sharing Photo Spheres with other users, via Google Maps. The Views site is said in a Google Blog to be a community site for users to contribute their own photo spheres to Google Maps, as well as showcasing the more popular 360-degree panoramic shots taken by the public, and images taken by the Google Street View team.
Features are now included in Google Maps for iOS
Because the features of the Google+ Local iOS app have now been incorporated into the latest edition of the Google Maps iOS app, the company announced on Thursday that it would retire the Google+ Local iOS app beginning August 7. Reviews and ratings created in the app will be available in the Google Maps app and in the users' Google+ profile if they are using the service.
Google allows instant access to overhauled Google Maps service
Google has expanded the reach of its Google Maps preview to all Internet users. The search giant is now allowing anyone to sign up for the overhauled service, which it announced during Google I/O alongside updated versions of the app for Android and iOS, with applicants gaining access straight away instead of waiting for an e-mail invitation.
Google adds Offline Maps option to Google Maps for Android following complaints
Google has updated the Android version of Google Maps to re-enable offline maps, following complaints. The feature, removed from general view in the app yesterday, was still available to use through typing "OK maps" into the search box, but the revised release of the apps introduces a new button to "Make this map area available offline," as well as a link to explain the removal of Latitude.
Update for iOS coming soon, Google Maps for Android updates today
Google has released an update for Google Maps for Android, one which it previously revealed to have a large number of changes, including enhancements to navigation, the main user interface, and new discovery options. The app will also be the first built for Android tablets and iPads, with it appearing in Google Play last night, and soon in the App Store.
Deal details remain undisclosed, rumored to be $1.3 Bn in cash
Google has confirmed it has closed a deal to purchase the social mapping startup Waze. The acquisition, for an undisclosed amount that is speculated to be around $1.3 billion in cash, will allow Waze to enhance Google Maps with traffic updates and route adjustments, using information provided by the startup's 50 million users.
Google Maps updated in European countries with cycling directions
Google has updated its Maps service in Europe to include directions and turn-by-turn navigation for cyclists. The update, according to a company blog post, includes new directions for Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Lichtenstein. Cycling directions through the service usually provides routes that use official cycle lanes, and with the new countries, Google has teamed up with a number of cycling organizations to supplement its own data as well as information supplied through Google Map Maker.
Invitations opened for new Maps service, no firm release date given
At today's Google I/O keynote, Google has demonstrated a revamped Maps app for iOS and Android. In the coming months, Android users will see an upgrade, bringing the Maps for iOS user interface and features. Additionally, a long-awaited iPad version of the utility will be made available for the iPad.
Google Maps preview page shows maps customized by searches
Google has updated its Google Play app store, just before the first day of the company's developer event, Google I/O. A new sign-up page for Google Maps also briefly appeared online before an expected reveal at the conference, which gave more information about the search giant's plans for its navigational product.
Full-screen map images include recommendations from reviews, Google+
Google may be updating the Maps user interface in the future. Screenshots of the alleged interface upgrade shows a page where the sidebar, usually used for location searches and more information on routes and places, has been removed in favor of Google Now-inspired index cards on top of a full-screen map.
Google Street View covers 50 countries, pushes large update
Google has added Street View coverage to areas of Hungary and Lesotho. Users of Google Maps can now explore the countries in Europe and Africa, making the total count of countries covered by Street View now 50. A Google blog claimed it as the largest single update of Street View imagery, which includes updates for nearly 350,000 miles of roads across 14 countries.
Rancor over Android likely to keep
Google would like Apple to return to Google Maps in a future version of iOS, chairman Eric Schmidt said today at an AllThingsD conference. "We would still really like them to use our maps," said Schmidt. "It would be easy for them to take the app in the store and put it as their basic one." The executive declined to comment on why Apple went with a proprietary system instead of continuing to use Google code and data, or whether the two companies are in talks.
Google Map Maker extended to United Kingdom
Google has added the United Kingdom to the list of countries able to contribute improvements to its mapping data. Enabled in North Korea earlier this year, Google Map Maker allows users to submit adjustments to the main Google Maps database, including new roads not picked up from Street View cars, changes in coastlines, and areas not usually covered by Google's normal cartography efforts. The changes are then periodically reviewed and rolled into Google Maps itself.
Four mountains shown in Google Maps service
Google has updated Street View to include a number of locations found on mountains. Areas of Aconcagua in South America, Mount Elbrus in Europe, Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Everest Base Camp in Asia have been included, allowing visitors of the Google Maps service to explore four of the peaks from the group known as the Seven Summits.
Patent involves combining map data with a database
A German court has revealed it is inclined to ban Google Maps in the country, as part of ongoing patent litigation. Judge Dr Matthias Zigann of the Munich I Regional Court told Google and Motorola Mobility that it is currently looking at holding them liable for infringing a Microsoft patent, as the patent covers a “big idea” and deserves a "construction commensurate with said big idea."
Some options region-restricted
Google has pushed out an update to the iOS version of Google Maps, v1.1. The update mainly adds hooks for Google Contacts; by signing in with a Google account, a person can now see a contact's address show up after typing in their name. Also new, though, is the ability to search for local points of interest according to category, such as bars or gas stations.
Ground overlays, viewing gesture controls added for developers
On Thursday, Google revealed version 1.1 of its Google Maps SDK for iOS, offering hooks for developers to tap into new features they can offer in their own apps by connecting any mapping functions to Google Maps. In addition to the revised SDK, Google also changed the requirements -- now letting any developer use the kit immediately rather than having to register first. The new SDK brings ground overlays, viewing gesture controls and polylines for complex pathing.
Mapathon 2013 to use Google Map Maker for crowdsourcing
Google is looking towards accelerating its crowdsourcing cartography efforts by offering prizes to participants in India. The Mapathon 2013 event from February 12th to March 25th will provide gifts, including devices and Google-branded merchandise, to the top 1000 users of Google Map Maker in India.
Used crowdsourced information over multiple years for map
Google has updated its Maps to include detailed road and landscape information for North Korea, something not offered before by the service. Previously showing just the coastline, rivers and the location of Pyongyang, the new additions are the culmination of years of work by residents of the secretive country using Google Map Maker.
2014 Kia Sorento to feature Google functionality
Kia Motors and Google announced today a partnership that will see the search giant providing content and search-based APIs for the next generation of Kia's UVO eServices telematics system. The Kia 2014 Kia Sorento CUV, available in the first quarter of 2013, will be the first to implement these new APIs, which will allow for the integration of Google Maps and Google Places into the driving experience.
MoPub sees iOS 6 adoption jump after Google Maps
[Update: Chitika study contradicts MoPub, says increase due to China debut] Google Maps recent arrival on iOS 6 may have led to a significant number of users upgrading to that version of iOS. This according to ad network MoPub, which saw iOS 6 adoption jump 29 percent in the five days following the release of the new version of Google Maps. A later study by rival Chitika reported that in fact, US increase in iOS 6 adoption rates were basically flat, and credited the bump to the iPhone 5's debut in China, where it sold more than two million units in its first weekend.
Statistic could prove embarrassing for Apple
Google Maps for iOS -- released last week -- managed to exceed over 10 million downloads in less than 48 hours, says Google Jeff Huber. The app is known to have become popular extremely quickly, reaching the top free spot on the App Store in just seven hours. Until now, though, Google had not provided any detailed data.
New app includes turn-by-turn, iOS 5.1 and up supported
[Updated to reflect actual release information] Just after 11PM Eastern Standard Time, Google unexpectedly released an Apple-approved iOS implementation of Google Maps to the App Store. The new app reinstates Google Maps to the latest version of Apple's mobile OS, purged in the migration to iOS 6. Google's new Maps application (free) implements Google local search, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, public transit directions, and Street View. Though many will view the release as a concession by Apple, it may in fact be a small victory for the company.
Problem with Australian road detail not limited to Apple Maps
A second area in Australia is having difficulties with Internet map services, this time courtesy of Google Maps. Police in Colac, west of Melbourne, say problems with Google Maps are endangering motorists along the Great Ocean Road and in the southern Otways. Sergeant Nick Buenen says trucks, buses, and tourist vehicles are being directed down Wild Dog Road, which is a one-way dirt road, not built for heavy traffic. Local department of public works VicRoads has denied responsibility, and Google has not commented on the matter, nor fixed the issue.
Samsung boasts Google Maps over Apple mishaps
Samsung has taken aim at Apple's most recent maps app mishap, poking fun at the recent bulletin issued by police in Victoria, Australia, warning people away from relying solely on the Maps app in iOS 6 when navigating. A new ad installation on display on George Street in Sydney has a lost-looking four-wheel drive and camping equipment parked on a sidewalk, as well as a sign saying "Oops." The ad then goes on to tout the mapping abilities of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III smartphone, which relies on Google Maps.
Google Maps gets Google Play services v2.0
Google today announced new additions to the API for Google Maps, bringing new information layers, as well as improved integration with Google Play services. The new Maps API is compatible with devices running Android 2.2 and up, and it brings better user interface designs for Android tablets, shoring up Google's offerings in a device sector in which it is trying to grow its market share.