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
After yesterday’s release of jailbreak iOS 6 developer, well known to all users iGuides Anton Titkov (iTony) decided to dig a little bit in the new firmware, and became the first man in the world, who managed to get working 3D card on the iPhone 4. New tweak from Anton Titkova called 3DEnabler , and at the moment we can confidently say that it adds support for 3D cards on the “old” devices, but it is possible that the “unavailable” Turn-by-turn navigation will be defeated by our talented developer.
iGuides offers instructions for the hack on its website, while another video of 3DEnabler running on iPhone 4 is below: Read more
TomTom unveiled a new version of its iPhone and iPad app at CES 2012 that utilizes data from social networks like Facebook and Twitter to provide users with enhanced navigation to friends, places, and events.
The press release does not provide much information on exactly how TomTom is using social network data, but the company claimed it would be a source for turn-by-turn navigation features baked into the current iOS apps. TomTom will obviously have to avoid user-generated data that might be inaccurate, but it is unclear what specific data the app will access. From the screenshots above, it appears you will be able to easily navigate to friends who have recently checked-in (with their location) to a social network.
The new app, version v1.10, will also allow you to share your destination and ETA through email, SMS, Twitter, or Facebook. Managing Director Consumer at TomTom Corinne Vigreux explained:
In a report from Computerworld way back in 2009, we learned that Apple had quietly acquired Maps API company Placebase. Then, founder of Placebase and CEO, Jaron Waldman, started working at Apple on a new “Geo Team”, presumably helping to integrate Placebase mapping technologies into future Apple products.
Fast forward two years to a new patent application titled “Schematic Maps”, filed by Apple Inc. and published today with Waldman, along with Placebase co-founder Moran Ben-David, listed as inventors.
Essentially the patent describes new methods of modifying a map in order to highlight certain objects by distorting others. For example, Apple could provide more data to the user (especially those on smaller screens) by blurring useless data and highlighting what it predicts is most useful to the user at any given time. You can imagine this being particularly useful for navigation. If a user were to request directions to a specific location, the maps could dynamically blur data that isn’t helpful and modify objects or landmarks that would otherwise be difficult to locate.
A snippet from the patent summary explains:
The following relates to preparing and presenting schematic maps, which are maps that present information in a format that presents only information that is most relevant to a given situation in order to provide a simple and clear representation sufficient to aid a user in guidance or orientation. The schematic maps as described herein can be formatted based on the attributes of a display on which they are presented so that the map layout and presentation can be optimized for the particular display. The schematic maps can be “distorted” to better illustrate important maps areas in greater detail and using a relatively larger display area while deemphasizing less important map areas by illustrating them in less detail and using a relatively smaller display area, and thus the schematic maps can be devoid of adherence to a particular scale.
There was originally speculation that Apple might be acquiring Placebase in order to build their own native Maps application, rather than having to rely on Google Maps. With the patent wars heating up and relationships between smartphone makers weakening, the likelihood of Apple not wanting to rely on their rivals for key technologies is increasing. Read more