Tag Archive | Google Maps

This hacker is porting the original Google Maps app to iOS 6, shows it can be done

At a time when the Apple Maps and Google Maps brouhaha is being discussed by everyone everywhere, one iOS hacker offers a glimpse at a temporary solution. While iOS 6 users wait for either Apple to hire engineers to fix all the issues, for Google tostop focusing just on Android and save the day, or for Microsoft to wake up and smell the coffeeRyan Petrich has a video that shows Google Maps running on iOS 6

Before you watch, Petrich would like to apologize for the poor video quality as hesays “YouTube mangles source video if it’s less than a certain width.” While the iOS hacker hasn’t revealed how he pulled off the feat, the video’s description does offer a bit more detail:

Preview of the old Google Maps application from iOS5.1 and earlier running on an iPhone 3G S updated to iOS 6.0

Still crashy and cannot be distributed to the public yet, but it mostly works 🙂

Uncompressed video from DisplayRecorder: http://rpetri.ch/db/GoogleMapsiOS6.mov

We thus know the Google Maps app in question is unsurprisingly from previous versions of iOS. More importantly, Petrich hints at the fact that he would like to release it to the public, once he gets it working properly.

Given that the iPhone 5 has already fallen to hackers, it would not surprise me if this port is released on the Cydia Store for jailbroken devices in the near future. If Apple Maps doesn’t get its act together soon, Cupertino will have created a very good reason for Apple users to jailbreak their devices.

I have contacted Petrich for more information. I will update you if and when I hear back.

Update at 4:00PM EST: Petrich has shared more information about the hack with The Next Web. He’s run into some issues and thus doesn’t have a release date:

Currently it requires binaries from both an older 5.1 SDK and an older 5.1 version of iOS and is thus not redistributable. This issue was solved in the earlier “Spire” project I worked on with Grant Paul by building an installer that had the device fetch the appropriate files directly from Apple’s CDN, but it’s not clear that a similar approach would work here. There is no timeline on when it might be ready as I’m not certain this can be overcome.

Also, I’ve only gone through the effort to support the official Maps app and not the in-app MapKit views that are used in Foursquare and other apps. If the redistribution problem can be solved, I intend to add an option to bridge embedded map views over as well.

If you’re wondering who Grant Paul is, he’s another iOS hacker. His most recent achievement was yesterday, when he jailbroke the iPhone 5.

Google Maps Now Features Schedules For More Than 1 Million Transit Stops Worldwide

 

Google Maps now features public transit schedules for more than 500 cities and one million transit stops worldwide. To make all of this information more accessible to its users on the go, Google todaylaunched an update to Google Maps for Android. The updated Google Maps app now, for example, allows users to choose which specific mode of transportation (train, bus, tram or subway) they want to see on their maps.

Additionally, Google’s redesigned station pages now make it easier to find information like departure times, which lines serve a specific station and the distance to nearby stations. Users just have to tap on the name of a station to get to these new station pages.

What Else Is New?

While Google’s announcement puts the emphasis on the new public transport features, the Google Maps team also made a number of other changes to the app. Whenever you search for a city or postal code, for example, you will now see the borders of that region (just like on the desktop).

The My Places feature now also makes it easier to access your saved offline maps and custom maps, and if you have Location History enabled, you can now use the app to “browse the places you’ve been on a daily basis with an updated Location History dashboard.”

For the time being, of course, all of these features are only available on Android. Now that Apple has decided to use its own maps on iOS, however, chances are we will soon see a dedicated Google Maps for iOS app, too. In the long run, that may actually prove beneficial for Google and its users, given that Apple only updates the maps app with every major OS release.

The Google Overkill – How much is too much?

I consider myself a very fussy internet user. I don’t like sites that don’t interest me and I don’t like to participate in social centric activities either. What I do appreciate though is when I find a site (either through a reference from @sahilparikh or through some divine luck), it becomes a mainstay for me and from there on, I focus my energies on trying to maximize its use.

Nobody can deny that Google (more than Apple and Facebook) is the most influential company on the internet. Not many people realize it but Google is a part of everyone’s daily life. More so than Facebook because it strives to provide essential services to its users. For me, Facebook is more of an entertainment channel that I use to disconnect from my overloaded work commitments. It actually amuses me to watch people display their lives online. A few months ago, I decided to clean my Facebook contacts. I had about 620 “friends”. By the time I finished, I had 580 “friends”. Of the 40 I deleted, 25 were dead accounts and the balance was just not worth it. Yet I kept the remaining 580 for sheer entertainment value. But I will keep the Facebook bashing for another day. Lets focus on Google.

My biggest peeve with Google, is not the type of services they offer, but the amount of services they offer. When I started using Google, all it was was a 6 letter word that would answer any question I threw at it. The site loaded fast, the results were quick and most importantly, close to accurate.

But then something happened.

Google decided to start something known as Google Labs. It was a place where Google geniuses could design anything they wanted. It was a technology Disneyland for the geeks of Silicon Valley and beyond. Through this project, Google had designed a ton of products (don’t ask how many coz I can’t find out anymore as it be deprecated) and had also commercially launched a few of them, other to completely bomb. For me, Google Wave was the worst innovation to come out of the lab and I pray never to be subjected to such a horrific ideas. But I am digressing.

So after much fanfare and the unexpected and exponential rise of Facebook threatening Google dominance, the Titans, Brin and Page felt Google Labs was a bad idea. It lacked direction and was a cash hungry animal. They felt Google needed focus and leadership. So sometime in 2011 under the auspices of Larry Page (CEO-2001 and again in 2011), Google Labs was shut down. Barring a few noteworthy applications, the rest were sent to garbage collection and we were left with the following:

THE HEADLINERS (not necessarily a Google labs product):

 

 

 

 

AND THE CRAP THAT COMES UNDER “MORE”

(I’m gonna skip showing logos for this one else I will never finish this post).

ORKUT, TRANSLATE, MOBILE, OFFERS, WALLET, SHOPPING, BLOGGER, READER, FINANCE, PHOTOS, VIDEOS, GOOGLE DRIVE

NOW MORE CRAP UNDER THE LINK “EVEN MORE“…WHAT????

SCHOLAR, ALERTS, BLOG SEARCH, CODE

After listing out these products, I feel like Lincoln Six Echo. Its evident the Google wants you to spend the rest of your life within Google and not out there. So i guess thats how you would feel if you lived in North Korea?

But the icing on the cake for me was when Google had the balls to launch Google+. This was the tipping point for me to realise that Google, who started off as a open and free organization was now becoming insular with monopolistic intentions. Most importantly, in an attempt to create disruptive software, they had started to build competition killing products.

Here are a few references:

Recently Launch Google Drive is a Direct competitor to Dropbox
Google Offers is nothing but Groupon
Wallet, an alternative to PayPal
Finance & Photos up against Yahoo!
Google docs, people think its competing with MS Office, but it actually killed OpenOffice
Google+…ahem, enough said.

Applications such as Dropbox and Wikipedia have always stuck to what they are good at. They have always tried to improve the experience for the user and never tried to copy or re-invent the wheel. Yahoo!, well is just Yahoo! Today Dropbox is the most admired and profitable company in Silicon Valley. Why? Because its simple. Sign Up, Get 2GB free online space,sign your friends and get more space and finally pay for additional space. This model cannot go wrong. But in Google, everything is too damn complicated. Especially when you have to drill down to MORE and EVEN MORE!!

Google is attempting to make the internet well into Google (as it was alleged that Facebook was doing the same). Google has always maintained that they are pro-liberation of the internet. Yet the attempt to provide all essential service under 1 umbrella is nothing short of monopolistic. And whats worse is that even though they advertise as everything being FREE, in reality the revenue generated through ads and search heads is what makes Google a $300 billion company.

With Google following this path, Facebook is bound to push back. Then Microsoft will feel left out so they will join in. Suddenly you will have 3 big companies offering similar services with different colors and clouding the judgement of the user. The Push and the Push-back will never end.

But before I end this post, I would like to offer a simple advise to my readers;

Never underestimate the outliers!

Explore the Antarctic From Your Desktop

Ever fancied taking a jaunt around the Antartic but weren’t too keen on the idea of dealing with the frostbite, potential for death under every step, and the bitterly cold temperatures? Not to worry: Google’s got you covered with some seriously stunning 360-degree panoramas, and Street View of historic places like Scott’s hut. Time to go exploring, 21st century-style.

Google had to resort to using lightweight tripods and fisheye lenses for this job, as even its Street View trikes and backpacks would have been a tad too heavy for trudging about in the snow.

As a result we can all be armchair explorers – grab your laptop or tablet of choice and get-a-wandering the Antarctic. Desolate and cold has never looked so beautiful than from the warmth of the sofa. [Google via Gizmodo UK]

Google indoor maps comes to the UK, helps commuter meet pasty in record time

If you’re forever getting lost looking for Barratts, or feeling faint hunting down a Greggs to fill your mall-explorer’s belly, then Google Maps to the rescue. Mountain View’s already made it clear it doesn’t want walls to get between you and its mapping of the world, and now those hungry Android-using indoor Britons can get in on the action. There’s only a hair over 40 venues covered right now — a mix of museums, stations, malls and airports in the main — and most of them in London. With building owners being able to upload their own maps, however, this should / could expand quickly. Good news either way, though if you can get lost at London Bridge Station, then no amount of maps will likely help.

Google Hints at Continued iOS Support For Maps [Apple]

Remember how Apple is booting Google Maps in iOS 6 in favor of its own maps app? And remember how Google Maps is still way better? Well a Google exec just dropped a major hint that it won’t be leaving iOS users high and dry. Probably.

Yesterday Jeff Huber, Google’s Senior Vice President of Commerce & Local, was on Google+, patting the backs of the Google Street View team for their exhibit at the Computer History Museum. An iOS-using commenter said he was hoping Google Maps would still be available on iOS. To that, Mr. Huber responded, “We look forward to providing amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS.”

Naturally, everyone wants to know what the hell he meant by that. Would Google make their Maps app available for download in the App Store? Or would this just be some kind of HTML5 solution that would be accessible by mobile browser (shudder)? Huber hasn’t said anything more, but we’ve reached out for comment and will update if we hear anything. At any rate, a glimmer of hope for Google Maps-loving iOS users. [9to5 Mac]

Google Maps Now Allows Bosses To Track Their Employees’ Movement

Google has announced a new service for Google Maps called ‘Coordinate’ that allows businesses to track the movement and activities of their remote workers—such as travelling salesmen and field technicians.

Coordinate works by tapping into the Global Positioning System (GPS) in the workers cell phones—allowing companies to monitor their workers’ progress and update them on newer assignments.

Employees can also use Coordinate to update management and other colleagues on the job they are performing.

According to Google product manager, Dan Chu, he said that the service was designed to be as straightforward as possible.

When asked on the concerns of using the service to track employees outside the job, Chua said that connection to the service can be dropped at certain times, an example would be when the employee gets of work or is on-leave.

Currently, Coordinate is only available on Android operating systems, but a version for the iOS will be on the way.

Click to watch the video below:

[via Google]

Google Maps to soon include waterway travel in England and Wales

Here in America, avid motorists tend to tick that ‘Avoid Ferries’ option whenever possible. In England and Wales, however, travel including waterways is looked quite fondly upon. To that end, Google has reportedly started the process of mapping towpaths in the two nations, as it attempts to map bridges, locks and some 2,000 miles of canal / river paths. The Guardian quotes Ed Parsons, a geospatial technologist at Google UK, as saying the following: “Canal towpaths offer green routes through our towns and cities, and by working with the Canal and River Trust we’re adding towpaths to Google Maps and encouraging people to discover their local waterway.” As delightful as the news may be, we still can’t help but focus on a single mental image. That image, if you’re curious, is embedded after the break.

Make the Most Geographically-Correct Playlist for Your Roadtrip

One of the best things about road trips is all the music you get to listen to. So. Many. Good. Jams. But if you’re on a long trip, you might find yourself running out of good songs to play. Roadtrip Mixtape is here to help build a playlist for your drive based on each city you pass through.

Simply punch in point A and point B and the app will fill the time in between with music. The app breaks your trip down into legs—the sample list we created has 187 legs, for example. Each leg is populated with music by artists from that region. An embedded Rdio player—yes, you need an Rdio account if you don’t want to manually compile said playlist yourself—plays the songs back. It’s a fun way to get to know new artists while on a long trip.

We spoke to Lamare by email, and he told us he’s got plans for several improvements and new features for Roadtrip Mixtape. First up Lamare plans on creating a mobile/iPhone-ready version of the web app that will play music by local artists wherever you are. The app will also soon allow you to filter the playlist by music style and popularity. Finally, when Lamare makes a mobile version of the site, he’ll likely offer both Spotify and Rdio versions. Those improvements all sound great, we can’t wait for them to be rolled out. [Roadtrip Mixtape]

Google Maps vs. Apple Maps: A Side-By-Side Comparison [Apple Maps]

The biggest change—among many—in iOS 6will undoubtedly be Apple’s new Maps app. And though its turn-by-turn directions, Flyover and oh so sweet Siri look promising, the real question is how Apple’s maps will compare to Google’s.

Here’s a side by side comparison of the two, so you can see for yourself. It may have you wishing Apple hadn’t gone it alone quite yet.

It’s admittedly a little unfair to judge Apple Maps since it hasn’t even passed beta yet, but it doesn’t change the fact that Apple’s offering has to be great to not be a failure. And it’s also worth noting that Siri proved Apple’s not afraid to put an incomplete feature on an iPhone.

No iPhone user wanted to kill Google Maps. It makes me uneasy to even think about a phone without it. If you’re replacing something as ubiquitous and functional as Google Maps, you had better be just as good. Or as a wise man from the streets once said, “If you come at the king, you best not miss.”

Note: In the examples below, Google Maps is on the left and Apple Maps is on the right.

Map View of San Francisco

Google Maps vs. Apple Maps: A Side-By-Side ComparisonApple’s maps look wonderful. Crisp, clean, paper-like, even, but… right now they’re completely devoid of useful information. Compare the side-by-side images of lower Manhattan (at the top of this post) and San Francisco (directly above) and it’s pretty clear that Google Maps gives you more information in terms of street names, street directions, subway stops, emphasis on major streets and so on.


Map View of New York

Google Maps vs. Apple Maps: A Side-By-Side Comparison

The solution is to add more map information even when zoomed out. Pretty is great to look at; informative is better to use.


Traffic

Google Maps vs. Apple Maps: A Side-By-Side Comparison

Traffic on Apple Maps seems pretty majorly incomplete but this is more of a beta issue than a real-life issue, since Cupertino’s going to lean heavily on users to determine where the gridlock is.


Directions

Google Maps vs. Apple Maps: A Side-By-Side Comparison

Directions on both Apple and Google Maps are great; they’ll get you to where you need to get to. The advantage of Apple Maps over Google Maps on iOS is that Apple will give you turn-by-turn directions, which Google never did on the iPhone (though it’s been available on Android for some time). However, Apple desperately needs to add public transit directions before iOS 6 launches.


Satellite View

Google Maps vs. Apple Maps: A Side-By-Side Comparison

Satellite view, even if you rarely use it, tells the same story. Google Maps just currently has more information at every level.


Street View

Google Maps vs. Apple Maps: A Side-By-Side Comparison

There is, though, a good chance you use Street View. Apple Maps doesn’t have an equivalent feature yet. And though Flyover seems really nice, it’s nice in a “show off to your friends” sort of way rather than something you’d use on a regular basis.


We’ll see how Apple Maps really works once iOS 6 officially launches. But as of right now, it’s lacking a lot of the granularity and features that make Google Maps great. So far upgrading doesn’t seem like an upgrade at all.