Microsoft just made a key hire that could help it re-energize its online mapping services. Raj Shah, who was previously heading up Google’s worldwide maps operations as the Engineering Director for Maps, will join Microsoft’s Online Services Division, where he will likely work on Bing Maps and its related products. Microsoft confirmed to us that Shah is indeed joining Microsoft, but declined to provide any details beyond this.
Not exactly earth-shattering news in the weeks leading up to E3, but Nintendo Japan announced some nice little additions to its Google-powered Wii Street U. The panoramic mapping service is getting support for the proprietary Miiverse social netwo…
Google’s bound to pull back the curtain on some goodies at its annual I/O conference next week (though it’s being characteristically quiet about the whole thing), but could a redesigned version of Google Maps be one of them? That’s what the folks at the (completely unofficial) Google Operating System blog hint at — they’ve come into possession of a pair of screenshots that supposedly depict Google’s new approach to mapping, and if true they point to some serious modifications.
A new front has opened in the smartphone war, and for the first time in many years, Apple is both outnumbered and outgunned.
I’m not talking about the phones themselves. iOS is still better than Android, although the gap has narrowed. The next iPhone will doubtless be the best phone in the world when it’s released, as ever. It won’t be as customizable – no Swype, no Facebook Home – but those remain relatively minor inferiorities.
The new battlefront is different. The new battlefront is the cloud: Google Maps vs. Apple Maps, Siri vs. Google voice search, iCloud vs. Dropbox et al, and Google Now vs…well, nothing at all, yet. This is a big deal. As we grow accustomed to an always-online world of ubiquitous computing, your phone becomes less a device in and of itself and more a gateway to its cloud services. And it’s very hard to argue that Apple is anything but the serious underdog here.
Those red pins look almost like little hearts, revealing which countries have been showered with the affection of Google’s crowdsourced map improvement tool and those — like the UK — that have so far been left out. We can now safely ignore the char…
For years now, Google has offered its Google Maps Engine to enterprises that want to visualize their custom geospacial data. Starting today, anybody will be able to use a subset of this functionality, thanks to the launch of Google Maps Engine Lite (beta). This new tool, Google says, will allow any mapping enthusiast to “create and share robust custom maps using this powerful, easy-to-use tool.” Maps Engine Lite allows users to upload small spreadsheets with locations and visualize them on a map. They can also compare up to three different data sets for, the company stresses, non-businesses purposes. These custom maps can have multiple layers, and users who don’t have spreadsheets to upload can also manually draw lines, mark specific areas and set place markers. Google offers a total of nine base maps, including its usual satellite and terrain maps, as well as styles that emphasize city boundaries, political boundaries and highways. Maps Engine Lite also offers about 150 different icons that can be used to mark specific places. To help new users get started, Google also published a tutorial that offers a few sample data sets and a step-by-step guide to publishing a custom map. Google says it will still offer My Maps, its earlier custom mapping tool, for the time being and My Maps users can import their maps into the new Maps Engine Lite. Over time, however, Google product manager Beth Liebert writes in today’s announcement, My Maps will be “incorporated into Google Maps Engine Lite.” For now, Google is officially labeling Maps Engine Lite as a beta, and it’ll only be available in English for the time being.
Nintendo just announced that Google Maps with Street View is now available for Wii U systems in North America. So you now have the ability to wander around Martha’s Vineyard if you don’t have access to your tablet, computer, or phone — or pretty much any other Internet-connected device.
For all her faults, Siri is a useful companion. Sometimes. But she defaults to Apple Maps. Thankfully it’s rather simple to trick Siri into giving you directions with Google Maps instead. No jailbreak required.
As shown in the video above, instead of saying, “Take me to the nearest Best Buy,” tell Siri “Take me to the nearest Best Buy via transit.” Those two little extra words prompts Siri to open a screen which displays transit apps. Simply click the button next to Google Maps to bypass Apple Maps altogether. It’s that easy.