Tag Archives: Google Maps

Google Maps returns to iPhone!

If you’re an iPhone owner and have been sorely missing Google’s dedicated app for Maps that Apple replaced with their own Map app when iOS 6 was released, well today’s you’re lucky day. At long last, Google has released Google Maps for iPhone and it brings back the glory of the old days; namely a vector-based map service you can actually rely on, Street View that provides 360-degree panoramas of streets and goes inside more than 100,000 places of business worldwide, detailed information for more than 80 million businesses and points of interest, Google local search that aids in discovering places to eat and shop with ratings and reviews, live traffic information, and directions for driving, mass transit, and walking. Pretty much everything you had been used to using with Google Maps on iOS.

But it doesn’t stop there. The most significant enhancement to Maps is turn-by-turn navigation with voice guidance, and it works just as advertised. Also, this latest version of Google Maps looks better than previous versions; it features a new design that’s sleeker and more streamlined than ever before. The map fills up the iPhone 5’s larger screen; a search box sits at the top for you to quickly input addresses and other queries to put Google local search to work; on the bottom left the “three dots” icon can be swiped to the left to reveal a list to enable live traffic, public transit, satellite view, and a quick link to the Google Earth app; if you’ve inputted an address or point of interest a swipe up from the bottom gives you detailed information about the location, including links to Save it, Share it, and enable Street View (swipe down to return to the map); at the bottom left resides the trusty “you are here” icon that when pressed will instantly locate your current position on the map (tap it again to enable smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views); and when you first open the app it asks you to log in with your Google Account so you can sync your searches, directions, and saved places between your computer and phone–score!

Though it doesn’t pack everything that its Android counterpart has (cashing maps for offline use is noticeably absent here), Google has does a fine job bringing back the glory and then some to Maps for iOS. If you’re obsessed with Flyover and prefer a map that is admittedly more pretty, stick with Apple’s offering. However, if you can live without those things (and Google’s offering doesn’t look so bad) it’s a no brainer that you should hide Apple Maps inside some folder and replace it with Google’s solution. Heck, even Apple CEO Tim Cook advises customers to use alternative map services while his company works out the innumerable kinks. Google Maps has proven over the years to be simple to use and extremely reliable, and that’s what it all comes down to, really. So watcha waiting for?

The new and improved Google Maps is now available as a free download in the App Store. It is compatible with iPhone 3GS and up, iPod touch 3rd-gen and up, and your device must be running iOS 5.1 or later. The app will work on the iPad, but note that it is not optimized for the original iPad and iPad mini screen sizes yet. Catch a fun clip from Google after the break.

[Via Google] READ MORE Google Maps returns to iPhone!

Short film: ‘Address Is Approximate’ (using stop-motion & Google Street View)

A lonely desk toy longs for escape from the dark confines of the office, so he takes a cross country road trip to the Pacific Coast in the only way he can – using a toy car and Google Maps Street View.

Address Is Approximate is produced by director Tom Jenkins of London-based commercial production company The Theory. The stop-motion animation short, shot with a Canon 5D Mark II, quickly went viral and has garnered over 1.8 million views in fifteen days. The story it tells is so simple yet unbelievably captivating. And the idea of taking inanimate objects for a “drive” cross country in front of a computer monitor using Google Maps is utterly ingenious. In case you’re wondering, the soothing track that plays throughout is “Arrival of the Birds” by The Cinematic Orchestra.

The clip was a pet project for Jenkins who was recently signed to the talent agency WME with his partner Simon Sharp. Hopefully this means that we can expect more from Jenkins in the future, perhaps on the feature side of things.

[Via Deadline; Vimeo]

Google Maps 5.0 available for Android devices now

The next version of Google Maps for Android-powered mobile devices is now available as a free download in the Android Market.  Google’s Andy Rubin previewed it (and I provided you with details) a little over two weeks ago.  In a nutshell, the new Maps uses vector graphics to provide 3D modeling of streets and buildings with a skyline; there are new multitouch inputs like tilting, rotating and smooth zooming; in compass mode the map will start rotating to match your perspective; offline caching will proactively save  large mapped areas on your device based on where you use Maps the most; and with offline rerouting you no longer need to rely on a network connection once you’ve started a route and find yourself lost.  In fact, Google claims that viewing maps now requires almost 70% less mobile network data overall than before; you should notice considerably faster speeds in Maps.  Android 1.6+ devices can run version 5, but 3D and offline features require Android 2.0+ devices.  If you’re reading this on your phone, click here to access the Maps download page.

[Via GoogleMobileBlog]

Arcade Fire teams with Google to create an awesome music video experience

Arcade Fire, the indie rock band from Canada, just pushed out their latest music video for the song “We Used to Wait” off their recently debuted third studio album The Suburbs.  I’m gonna tell you right now, this music video is unlike anything you’ve seen before.  The band and director Chris Milk collaborated with Google to design a “Chrome Experiment” that showcases the power of HTML5 inside a browser.  Before the music video begins, you are prompted to enter the address of the home where you grew up.  After submitting that information multiple browser windows open up and the music begins.  These windows open and close at different intervals along with the music and at certain parts your childhood home and surrounding neighborhood become an integral part of the music video (thanks to the power of Google Maps and HTML5 rendering).  There is more to the interactive experience, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.  Head over to www.thewildernessdowntown.com (preferably within the Google Chrome browser) and check it out!

[Via EW-MusicMix]

Concept: Google Mail envelopes make e-mail physical

google_mail3

Industrial designers Rahul Mahtani & Yofred Moik have imagined a new way to go about emailing.  This is all conceptual thinking, mind you, but take a knee and listen here.  Google Mail Envelopes is designed to be built into the Gmail service.  When you’re ready to send off an email, you’ll be given two options: send email (as usual) or “send envelope.”  When you click the new button, Google representatives are notified and they print out your email, package it into a Google Maps decorated envelope, and send it off to its destination via the United States Postal Service for a small fee.  The envelope design is neat; the return address and destination labels are placed inside Maps bubbles and they each point to their respective locations on the map.  The two locations are connected by a line, the same line that’s formed when you look for directions online at Google Maps.  In other words, the mail’s exact route is labled on the map on the envelope.  Although this concept is one that will likely never make it into reality (privacy concerns, Google employing letter senders), the idea is quite fascinating.  Turning electronic mail into a physical letter is an option some people might find useful.  It’d be a faster, more efficient way to send a letter–it would eliminate the need to shop for stamps, for one thing.

[Via YankoDesign]

Google intros free turn-by-turn navigation to Google Maps; nav manufacturers tremble in fear

Today Google announced a major upgrade to its mobile Google Maps software with the introduction of Maps Navigation.  Everything you’re used to with Google Maps is still there–search (by name of business), directions, traffic data, the three views (map, satellite, hybrid), etc.  Maps Navigation brings full-blown turn-by-turn directions, including our friend the female robotic voice.  New features included: address input by text or voice; text-to-speech (reads street names aloud); Street View (when you are making a turn or getting off a highway, an intelligent satillite view of the street will appear with directional arrows embedded on top); search along a route (it can point out and direct you to gas stations or resturants that fall on your route path); hold a finger down on any point of the virtual map and it will guide you there; layers (features like traffic and points of interest are “layers;” Gizmodo acknowledges that this may hint towards Google offering developers to create their own layers on top of the map (Wiki notes, etc.)); landscape and portrait modes.  A docking station for car use was demoed.  When a compatable phone is placed in the dock, an “arm’s length away” user interface takes effect (larger icons, etc.).

One of the most distinguising features of Maps Navigation as a navigation system is that it relies on the Internet to gets its information (maps, traffic, etc.) instead of actual satillites like most other navs.  There are major advantages and some disadvantages to this.  Gizmodo appropriately labels the single most important advantage “maps that never age.”  In essense, you will never have to worry about updating your maps because the software is constantly updating itself via the carrier’s cell service.  The disadvantage?  If you happen to enter a dead zone and lose all cell service you might find yourself stuck in lost, unfamilar territory.  However, it is worthy to note that the software sort of works offline in that it will cache (or save) your route once it is entered in a cell signal area.  So if you happen to stumble upon a dead zone you may not SOL after all.

For now, Maps Navigation will only be available on Android 2.0 cell phones.  The first cell phone to feature it will be Verizon’s Doid by Motorola.  Eventually this upgraded version of Google Maps will make its way to other carriers and devices.  In fact, Gizmodo reports that Google is in close talks with Apple about porting it to the iPhone.

One final, very significant point:  Maps Navigation is f-r-e-e, that spells free.  This is going to make a heavy impact not only on other cell phone nav applications that are not free, but it is definitely going to negatively affect major companies like TomTom and Garmin (it already has) who rely on people purchasing their standalone GPS units.  If people have the choice of using a free (ad-free too, mind you) nav application on their cell phones or choosing to buy a separate typically expensive device, what do you they are going to choose?  What would you choose?  Share your opinion in the poll below.

[Via Engadget, here & here; Gizmodo]

[polldaddy poll=2182711]