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