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

Google Maps coming to iPad this summer, updated with new design, improved rating system, in-app offers, much more

We showed you significant updates to Google Maps which leaked early this morning, and Google just announced updates to Maps at Google I/O.

Google also announced that its Maps API is used by over 1 million active sites and accessed by 1 billion unique visitors weekly.

Maps will now feature a 5 star rating system for locations across all platforms. Users can now swipe across results in a simple, gesture user interface. Zagat reviews are now more prominent with badges and cards simplifying its appearance. These cards now include a new Offers experience with partners including Starbucks.

Google Maps for Mobile also includes improvements to rerouting in transit and explore features. Google Maps for iPad was demoed during the keynote, which we expect to see with the iPhone update this summer. Read more

Apps: Google Maps, Temple Run: Oz, RunKeeper, BeatBlaster, Everpix, more

Temple Run: Oz: Developers of the Temple Run franchise have once again teamed up with Disney to release a game built on the Temple Run 2 engine but set in the world of an upcoming Disney film. This time Imangi Studios brings the Temple Run gameplay experience to the world of Oz in support of the upcoming Oz the Great and Powerful film. The game is available for 99 cents now and features new gameplay elements you haven’t seen in past Temple Run titles.

NEW FEATURES
• Stunning environments inspired by the film – explore them all.
• Fly in a hot air balloon – earn even more coins.
• Explore different locations in Oz – follow sign posts!
• The environment changes as you run – test your reflexes.
• Compete in weekly challenges – beat your friends!

Google-Maps-Contacts-iOS

Google-maps-iconGoogle Maps version 1.1: Google Maps for iOS gets the ability to search Google Contacts, quickly access search for local places, and select between Kilometers or Miles. Google announced the new features in a blog post and also noted that it is rolling out the English version of the app to seven new countries including: Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.

Your Google Contacts are now integrated into Google Maps for iPhone – meaning that when you’re signed-in and search for a friend’s name, their address will appear as a suggestion (if you have their address saved). Simply tap their name to see the address, which will visible only to you, on the map. To learn an easy way to keep your Google Contacts synced with your iPhone, click here.

* Search your Google Contacts; sign in to have your saved addresses show up when you search for friends and family by name.
* Quickly search for local places by selecting popular categories such as restaurants, bars, cafes, gas stations, etc.
* Choose between Kilometers or Miles for your preferred distance units.
* Note that some features may not be available in all countries.

RunKeeper version 3.1: Many new features for the popular RunKeeper iOS app today including a Night Mode, In-Activity Settings, and weight logging and visualization tools: Read more

Google launches web ad promoting its iOS Dev team, encourages iOS developers to do work that ‘matters’

Since the removal of YouTube, and Maps as preloaded Google apps within iOS, Google has been especially adept at developing its own set of iOS apps. We previously detailed how Google wants to own the iOS ecosystem on the apps level, providing users with an alternative universe to most of the core features of Apple’s mobile operating system. It appears Google now has a dedicated iOS app team which builds cohesive apps rather than having each business unit build its own apps. Read more

Google Maps for iOS saw 10M downloads from App Store in 48 hours

Google maps for iOS

With the highly anticipated Google Maps for iOS now among us, Google SVP of Commerce Jeff Huber shared some interesting download numbers this afternoon. In just 48 hours, Huber said that a whopping 10 million users downloaded the Apple Maps alternative from the iTunes App Store. Also, as the app climbs up the charts to the top free app, the number of downloads is likely rising quick. Google Maps for iOS was well received, garnering positive reviews and ratings, with even Google admitting that its iPhone version of Maps is better than its Android version. Additionally, things look to get even better: Google shared last week that iPad support and offline mode are launching soon.

Read more

WSJ: Google putting final touches on Google Maps for iOS, distributed to a small number of outside testers

The previous version of Maps included on iOS 5.0.

After Apple moved to its own mapping solution on iOS, the rumors of Google bringing a standalone Maps app to the platform have intensified. The Wall Street Journal reported that the highly anticipated Google Maps for iOS may be here soon, with word that the app has entered its final testing stages and will include turn-by-turn navigation.

The WSJ wasn’t able to give specific time frame for the app’s launch, but the report added that the app has been distributed to a few members outside the bounds of Mountain View for testing before it is submitted to the iTunes App Store review team. The launch sounds like sooner than later, as several publications in the recent months have pegged the launch before the end of the year. The question is: will Apple accept it?

Google won’t be alone in the iOS Maps-alternative battleground, however. Nokia announced yesterday it plans to release its own iOS map solution under the “Here” brand. Nokia said it plans to make the app available on the iTunes App Store in the coming weeks, offering offline maps, voice-guided navigation, and information on public transport.

More on Eddy Cue’s Apple Maps involvement below

Nokia to release free ‘Here’ maps app for iOS with voice-guided navigation, public transport directions, and offline

While a native Google Maps iOS app has yet to hit the App Store, Nokia said today it plans to release a new free maps for iOS under the “Here” brand in the coming weeks. “Here” is a cross platform effort for mapping applications that the company described as “the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems.”

San Francisco, California – Today Nokia introduced HERE, the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems. With the new brand, HERE, Nokia aims to inspire a new generation of location services and devices that make the mobile experience more personally significant for people everywhere… To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand. 

The new HTML5-based iOS app, also called “Here”, will arrive in the App Store in the coming weeks and feature “offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions.” Read more

Xbox SmartGlass, Curiosity, Tweetbot, Sparkling Maps, Rockmelt, more

Xbox SmartGlass: Microsoft updated its My Xbox LIVE app for iPhone and iPad last night, renaming the app “Xbox SmartGlass” and introducing a number of new features. The app now works as the full fledged second screen “SmartGlass” experience for Xbox that Microsoft originally unveiled for Windows 8 devices.

Xbox SmartGlass lets you:
• Navigate your Xbox 360 with swipe and tap
• Use your phone’s keyboard to type to your Xbox 360
• Browse the Internet on your Xbox 360 with full keyboard and zooming
• Play, pause, fast forward, rewind, and stop videos and music on your Xbox 360
• Search the full Xbox catalog of music, video, and games
• Enjoy rich, interactive experiences from select game and entertainment content creators
• Track and compare your achievements with your Xbox friends
• Change up your 3D avatar
• Message your Xbox friends
• Edit your Xbox profile

Sparkling Maps version 1.1: Apple has decided to accept an update to Sparkling Maps that brings “vastly improved turn by turn navigation” and “better StreetView” powered by Google data. According to its developers,”This is now the first available app on Apple devices that offers streetview and turn by turn navigation on google maps data.”

Curiosity – what’s inside the cube: Developer of the Fable series Peter Molyneux is out with an interesting cross-platform title that is also now available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. The game consists of users tapping away at a giant cube made up of billions of smaller cubes. Nobody knows what’s inside (unsold copies of Fable?), but users will work together across platforms to find out the mystery inside of the cube.

Deep in the centre of the cube is something life-changingly amazing, but only the first person to reach the centre will discover what’s inside.

Tweetbot for Mac version 1.0.1: The Tweetbot Mac App Store app was just updated with a ton of new features, fixes, and improvements. Included in the update is support for “Reading list as a Read Later service” on 10.8 and up, the ability to disable Streaming from within preferences, as well as better keyboard support in “people searcher”. You can also now navigate the timeline using the jk keys. A full list of what’s new is below:  Read more