We all know that mapping the world is not easy. Google has done a great job in developed countries but collaborating with the authorities. However, for developing countries like India, where establishments and points of interests change as frequently as every 6 months, it is difficult to just rely on the government authorities to provide accurate up to date data.
In an effort to enhance the Google Maps data for India, Google India is running a Mapathon where anyone with a Google account can improve the Google maps data for their neighborhood or places they are familiar with. Google India is also offering attractive prizes for people like 10 Samsung Galaxy Note 800 Android Tablets, 40 Samsung Galaxy S II GT I9100 Android Phones, 50 Flipkart gift coupons worth Rs. 5000 each and 1000 Google Mapathon 2013 t-shirts and certificates (includes the top 100 above and another 900 people).
I was browsing for restaurants earlier this week and saw that Google has started adding "See Inside" in India too. Despite setbacks to Google from providing a real Street View for Indian cities, Google has managed to innovate.
“See Inside” is a Street View for inside restaurants, shops and other establishments. There are already tons of places in Hyderabad for which you can check out the ambience in person.
Google has finally released its maps app for iOS giving relief to a lot of users around the world. After many embarrassing turn of events for Apple, it was inevitable for Google to work on and release an awesome app to users facing too much inconvenience. And they have delivered well.
The new app is beautifully designed and has all the elements one would need from a maps app. The app looks slick and minimalistic, however, it is feature packed with turn by turn voice navigation, transit directions, walking directions, live traffic view and reviews for restaurants in addition to some personalization features. I tried turn by turn voice navigation in India and found it to be pretty accurate.
However, the distance units are not in metric which is a bit inconvenient. To make the distance units show up in metric system, go to Settings -> General -> International and change the Region format to India. Also, there seems to be lags here and there when the app speaks out directions. Even with all these quirks, the app is a welcome for anyone who was used to using the native Google maps apps before iOS 6. The app has already replaced the native Apple maps app on my home screen.
Download the new app from the app store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-maps/id585027354?mt=8
Well, I am not really breaking any news here. Just for those folks who might’ve missed this.
Google Maps now shows Live traffic information. This is a sign of relief for Indian users who were only relying on Waze at the moment. The traffic data isn’t too accurate at the moment. But as we all know the more the users the more the accuracy (it’s crowd sourced).
The UI is very intuitive and this traffic information is also available on the Google Maps applications on Android and iOS (probably on other OS with traffic layer support too).
Google has launched their turn by turn voice navigation service in India today. The service is available on all Android phones with Android version 2.2 and above in the latest Google Maps app. The service gives you voice based turn by turn directions while driving using our GPS location to determine your current position on the map. This lets you keep your eyes on the road.
Initially, the service will be available in major cities. Here is a short video from Google India:
Google Indonesia team, as part of Chrome experiments project, has launched the Hindu Epic Ramayana in HTML5. The story is same as the Ramayana, except that the characters use modern tools like Google maps, Google Talk, Docs, Gmail etc. to plan their strategy. Pretty cool eh? Jatayu also writes a blog!
Its a brilliant creative work in my opinion. The site currently only works properly in the latest version of Chrome. It is completely in Bahasa language, however, it is easily understandable.
It is totally worth checking it out. The site is live at ramaya.na
[via Digital Inspiration]
Dear Google+, please stop creeping me out. I know you come from the minds of probably the best computer engineers in the world. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else will appreciate how creepy a computer algorithm can become when it has the power and information to figure out any types of connections among people. I have two examples to give you:
A friend of mine had an issue with his UPS and he called up their customer care to arrange for a replacement. They asked for a copy of the invoice to be sent to their email address. That email address was a gmail address (lets not get into why this was the case). When my friend composed and sent an email to that address, the Google+ section to the right of the message immediately found out that this gmail address is associated to a person’s google+ profile which has a public profile picture and showed it there. I understand that its pretty smart, however, consider if google+ wasn’t integrated in such a creepy way, my friend would have just sent the email and everyone would have lived happily ever after.
I use Google search a gazillion times a day and love how Google search evolved over the years.. ahem.. Social Search. While I am totally fine with the idea of Search "Featured Ads" as Google’s primary source of money, I am not okay with them tweaking the actual search results for money.
Looks like Google is desperate to get Indians to start using Google+ as their primary social network. Google India has partnered with O-Zone to offer free access to Google+ wherever O-Zone has their hotspots (list includes CCDs, McDonalds, Costa Coffee etc. Complete List).
Although anything free is good for customers, this move sounds more like a desperate attempt by Google. India is one of the top users of Facebook and it looks like Google wants a share of that pie. This is probably the perfect time to refresh the College Humor’s hilarious video on Google Plus:
With probably the lamest concatenated name ever, Google and Samsung have announced the (duh) Galaxy Nexus, the next pure Google phone from Samsung. With Google’s latest Android version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the Galaxy Nexus features a lot of cool features and an improved UI. Check out the video:
You can check out the phone on the official Google site here. Here is how the phone looks like: