GPS Stories March 10, 2016

Alphabet-owned Nest is best known for its smart thermostat, but the company works on a number of devices which, albeit being generally good at their given task, do not communicate with each other particularly well. And that’s mostly due to the fact that said devices have always had a hard time detecting whether you are actually at home or not.

With the upcoming implementation of GPS support via the Nest app, however, it looks like your house is about to become decidedly more efficient – and smart…

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GPS Stories August 7, 2015

Google Maps v4.9 for iOS brings new night mode, ability to label custom places

iOS users of Google Maps just got some new functionality that has been in the Android version for some time now. Version 4.9 (iTunes link) brings a new night mode as well as the ability to label custom places so they can be easily found on the map and in search.

Night mode does something pretty common amongst dedicated GPS navigation units: It darkens the maps on-screen while you’re navigating somewhere. The reason this matters is because distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of driving-related accidents, and the white glow of a smartphone screen directed at ones face at nighttime can most definitely make it difficult to see what’s in view of the vehicle.

The other notable addition to come with this update is the ability to label places on the map that aren’t already in Google’s own database of places and points of interest. It’s already possible for anyone to add new places to the map through the iOS app, but these were only for public places and, if approved, would be seen by everyone using the app. The new labels are private, intended to make it easier to find and navigate to places that matter to you.

Google Maps for Android already has these features, but for iOS users who still cannot stand Apple’s own mapping product, they’re surely a welcome addition.

GPS Stories June 29, 2015

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The number of railroad crossing accidents that occur in the United States has declined 80 percent since 1970, but last year that number inexplicably rose 9 percent to approximately 1,100, 270 of which resulted in deaths. Today Google and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced a partnership in which Maps users will receive audio and visual alerts when they’re coming close to a railroad crossing in their route, according to a report in the New York Times. The FRA has a vast database of every rail crossing in the country.

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GPS Stories April 28, 2015

Google Play Services 7.3 brings support for multiple Android Wear devices at once (Video)

Google has—finally—officially announced Google Play Services 7.3 (which first surfaced a couple of weeks ago), bringing several important new features to the company’s Google-powered app support package. Most importantly, the update brings new Android Wear APIs allowing multiple wearables to be connected to a single phone…

Multiple wearable devices can be connected to a user’s handheld device. Each connected device in the network is considered a node. With multiple connected devices, you must consider which nodes receive the messages. For example, In a voice transcription app that receives voice data on the wearable device, you should send the message to a node with the processing power and battery capacity to handle the request, such as a handheld device..

The update also brings the addition of nutrition data to Google Fit, as well as “improvements to retrieving the user’s activity and location, and better support for optional APIs, there’s a lot to explore in this release.” Check out the goofy and entertaining announcement video below, and learn more over at Google’s Android developers blog:

GPS Stories December 12, 2014

Google Maps adds lane guidance for highways in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, & Ireland

Google announced today that it’s adding the Google Maps lane guidance feature it rolled out to select locations earlier this year to additional countries just in time for the holidays. Google said today that Maps now includes lane guidance for highways in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, and Ireland.

When you’re in the turn-by-turn navigation mode, we can now make sure you don’t miss your next turn or exit by showing you which lane to stay in or move to so you’ll never find yourself darting across traffic at the last minute — or worse, driving for miles down the wrong road. When you approach a junction or exit with multiple lanes, voice guidance will suggest which lanes are best for your route. You’ll also have easy access to alternate routes while you’re navigating, so you can choose the best drive for you.

Google first announced the feature back in May, which offers real-time info to help drivers prepare for upcoming turns or necessary lane changes, and it’s been rolling out to select countries and locations since.

The lane guidance feature is available through turn-by-turn Navigation in the Google Maps app on Android and iPhone.

GPS Stories August 11, 2014

If you’ve ever wished your motorcycle had better mirrors, or that you could get directions from your GPS without taking your eyes off the road, the Skully AR-1 may be the answer. Billed as “the world’s smartest helmet,” it incorporates a head-up display to show the view from a built-in 180-degree rear-facing camera as well as turn-by-turn directions from the integral GPS …  expand full story

GPS Stories August 9, 2013

Google investigating GPS problems with new Nexus 7

If you’ve been having problems with GPS on your new Nexus 7, you’ll be happy to know that Google has confirmed that it is investigating the problem and likely working on a fix. Phonearena points us to complaints from users on the Google product forums and elsewhere, one of which includes a comment from Google Community Manager for Android, Paul Wilcox, noting that the team is looking into the problem.

Several users on XDA, Nexus 7 Google+ Communities, Android Central, etc… including myself, are having GPS problems with the N7 2013. It will get a satellite lock and work fine for anywhere between 10-30 minutes (longer for others) then it will go back into a “Searching” mode with the GPS icon blinking. Sometimes a reboot helps, others not.

I’m curious if any others on here have experienced this problem on the Nexus 7 2.0 or had any thoughts/suggestions above and beyond what has been discussed at XDA and AP.

After doing my own troubleshooting, factory defaulting my device, then returning/exchanging my device with the reseller… I reached out to Google Play Support for help and they stated that they are aware of the issue, that it was affecting N7 owners, and that engineering should be issuing a patch fix at some point… they were very vague on any details when asked for clarification.

GPS Stories January 3, 2012

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime to get FOTA Ice Cream Sandwich update Jan. 12

ASUS announced on its Facebook today that the Transformer Prime would receive a firmware over-the-air Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update starting Jan. 12. Somehow this is even before the Motorola XOOM, Google’s reference tablet? Perhaps this will ignite a war among Tablet makers to get their devices up to Ice Cream Sandwich first. Bring […]

GPS Stories July 7, 2011

Constant checking of your location is annoying when using public transportation in a foreign city. This will become a thing of the past with the new Google Maps for Android which now features something called Transit Navigation (currently in beta). Basically, this taps Google’s vast mapping database, your phone’s GPS location and real-time public transportation data to figure out where exactly along the route you currently are. The system then alerts you on time when it’s time to hop off the buss, Google explains in a blog post:

Using your location along the route, Transit Navigation will alert you when its time to get off at your destination or to make a transfer. This is particularly helpful if you’re in a city where you don’t speak the language and can’t read the route maps or understand the announcements. 

The best bit? It runs in background so you’ll continue receiving progress reports as subtle Android notifications while checking your email or playing a game. It will even vibrate the device when it’s time to get off at next stop. Other improvements include the navigation interface with big icons and built-in picture viewer for Places pages. The new Google Maps 5.7 for Android with Transit Navigation (BETA) can be downloaded now from Android Market on smartphones that run at least Android 2.1. Transit Navigation arrives with support four hundred major cities around the world and Google will probably add more towns in the future. expand full story

GPS Stories June 8, 2011

You will be soon able to take full advantage of Google Maps Navigation with your Android smartphone while offline thanks to new caching capabilities, the Dutch site All About Phones reported, citing “an informed source”. Of course, Google Maps has had offline caching via HTML5 since last year, but this only remembers map tiles you’ve accessed rather than the whole map. As a result, there’s no easy way to plot a new route without being connected to the network. That will change soon, the source hints…

The new mode should enable full offline navigation, the story goes. In its present incarnation, Google Maps Navigation provides automatic rerouting when outside network coverage, but only after you’ve begun a route. Without going into much detail, the source basically says that Google will remove the requirement for network coverage plus cache more data, allowing you to navigate to a new destination when outside your network coverage. The publication quoted a parts supplier for Android smartphones who told them that Google plans on rolling out the new full offline navigation via a Google Maps Navigation app update, due this summer.

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