Google iOS app updated w/ Material Design, Street View integration, more

Google is rolling out a completely redesigned version of its iPhone and iPad app with its Material Design look and feel right down to the app icon.

The latest version of the search app now presents a bottom navigation bar (which can slide out of view) that presents a persistent Google button for searching for new information. The navigation bar also offers a button for quickly accessing recent search pages, something that feels similar to multitasking between apps on Android.

Also notable as part of the redesign is the optimization searching for photos has received. In the latest version of Google’s iOS app, image results now take on a full-screen, mosaic look for presenting larger results. The update also packs in deep Google Maps integration for location searches including support for Google Street View right in the app for iPhone users. You can read the full change log below: Read more

Did Apple drop Google Maps for good? Apple Maps now rolling out on iCloud.com

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Apple appears to have finally dropped Google Maps from iCloud.com, replacing it with its own in-house maps almost two years after removing Google Maps from iOS and most of its other products. Apple started slowly rolling out the feature to its iCloud beta site for select users earlier this year before pulling it, but it now seems to have replaced Google for all users of iCloud.com’s Find My iPhone feature (pictured above). Read more

Google Maps for iOS updated with a fresh new Material Design layout, integrated OpenTable and Uber

Update: The new Google Maps app is now available on the App Store.

Google announced an update for its Google Maps for iOS app today that adds a fresh new Material Design layout focusing on bright colors and real world surfaces and shadows. The software’s refreshed interface is set to roll out over the next few days, with new features like dinner reservations from OpenTable (US only) and enhanced information cards with photos and reviews of popular attractions near your location.

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UK carrier reports increased Apple Maps usage as ComScore numbers show downward trend

Apple’s Maps app, introduced as part of iOS 6 in 2012, has had its fair share of technical issues and was the source of a PR crisis and the ejection of multiple long-time Apple executives. But two years later, if data from UK carrier EE is any indication, Apple Maps usage appears to be on an upward trend. Here’s the latest usage data for Apple Maps from the network:

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Apple acquires mapping-based social recommendation service Spotsetter

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Just a little more than a week after acquiring Beats, Apple has now reportedly acquired Spotsetter. According to a report out of TechCrunch, Apple quietly snatched up the company mainly for the technology and two founders behind the service. Spotsetter was founded in 2012 by ex-Google Maps engineer Stephen Tse and Jonny Lee. Both Lee and Tse’s LinkedIn profiles now say they’re employed by Apple, as well.

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Google Maps for iOS updated with lane guidance, improved offline maps, Uber integration

Google released a major feature update to Google Maps for iOS today bringing a handful of useful features for navigation and travel with your iPhone and iPad including integration with the private transportation service Uber.

First up is a feature found on many dedicated GPS devices: lane guidance. The feature will present which lane is necessary with current directions to help you avoid missing important turns. Notably, Apple’s Maps software does not currently offer this feature. Google says lane guidance is currently only available for users in the US and Canada… Read more

Will CarPlay impact your next car purchase? [Poll]

After Mark uncovered it last April and Apple announced it last June, this week we’ve seen a steady stream of details about Apple’s iOS and car integration following Apple’s marketing push. There’s plenty more coverage on the way as we continue to explore what CarPlay means for Apple and its users, but now we want to hear from you. What effect will CarPlay have on your next car purchase?

Cars certainly aren’t purchases you make impulsively (or often), and CarPlay seems to address that by relying on the iPhone (something we may purchase impulsively and often) for much of the functionality. Among other things, will CarPlay be on the list of things you look for in your next car purchase? Read more

New leaked docs show NSA collects personal data from smartphone apps

New documents leaked by Edward Snowden and reported by The New York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica detail how the NSA and its British counterpart can collect users’ personal data through smartphone apps. The reports specifically mention popular apps like Angry Birds, Twitter, Google Maps and Facebook and claim the NSA is capable of intercepting information ranging from location, age, and sex of users to address books, buddy lists, phone logs, geographic data and more:

The N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens of smartphone apps by 2007, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs and the geographic data embedded in photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services.

At least one of the app developers, Rovio, is not surprisingly unaware of any of the activity mentioned in the documents, but it will be up to the app developers, Apple, and Google to address the issue and clarify for users if their personal data is safe. In a recent interview with ABC, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the controversy over surveillance programs and promised he would press congress for more transparency: Read more

Google Maps left out in the cold as most iPhone users stick with Apple Maps

Photo: bgr.com

Photo: bgr.com

Apple Maps may not have had the best of starts, but data from ComScore shows that most iPhone users have stuck with the app rather than reinstalling Google Maps. Google Maps lost 23M iPhone users in the US alone in the last year, with similar numbers expected elsewhere.

The figures show that in September this year, 35M iPhone owners used Apple Maps, against just 6M for Google Maps – the latter including around 2M who were using older versions of iOS unable to run Apple Maps.

The story is essentially a simple one: while techier iOS users may choose their own apps, the majority of iPhone owners use the apps that Apple provides. And if you apply that to other services, that may not bode well for technologies like Pandora …  Read more

Google Maps for iOS adds real-time incident reporting from Waze

Real-time-waze-reporting-google-mapsGoogle announced today on its Google Maps blog that it’s finally tapping into the talent and technology it picked up with its acquisition of Waze back in June by integrating real time incident reports from Waze into Google Maps. The new integration means that when Waze users report incidents for everything from accidents to road closures, Google Maps users on both iOS and Android will now be able to benefit:

Users of Google Maps for Mobile will now benefit from real time incident reports from Waze users. This means when Wazers report accidents, construction, road closures and more on Waze, the updates will also appear on the Google Maps app for Android and iOS.

The features will initially be limited to users in certain locations, including: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, UK and the US. In addition, as Google first hinted back in June, the company will also be integrating Google Search into the Waze apps on iOS and Android, while the Waze Map Editor now has access to Google Street View imagery: Read more

Google previews upcoming iOS features in Google Maps app

Google-maps-explore-iosAs reported on 9to5Google last night, Google is rolling out a huge update to its maps app for Android but they are also promising the updates will hit iOS ‘soon’.

  • Designed for tablets: A dedicated tablet design brings all the features of this new app to Android tablets and iPads, which makes exploring the world from the comfort of your living room much more fluid, smooth and fun.
  • Enhanced navigation: In addition to current traffic conditions, we’ve added two new features to help you navigate around traffic. You can now see reports of problems on the road that you can tap to see incident details [Hello Waze]. While on the road, Google Maps will also alert you if a better route becomes available and reroute you to your destination faster. This feature is available only on Android and is coming soon to iOS.
  • Reviews, Zagat and Offers: There’s a new 5.0 star rating system that gives you a quick read on how your friends and others rate places like restaurants, bars and cafes. For an expert’s opinion, the Zagat badge of excellence and curated lists are integrated into search results so you can quickly spot the very best places. From “Best Restaurants to meet for a drink in NYC” to “Best Restaurants in the Mission” in San Francisco, Zagat’s there to help you uncover the local gems.

There’s also a lot of housecleaning, including retiring Latitude (another one bites the dust!) and some changes to offline and My Maps.

The updated Android app looks a lot like the Maps app Google released for iOS at the end of last year (prominent reviewers called the iOS Maps app much better than Android’s Maps app). Another interesting fun fact: Because carriers and manufacturers are so slow to update Android, only 60% of Android users will be able to use the new maps (Android 4.03+ only), while over 90% of iOS users are on iOS 6+, which will get the new features. Read more