Location Stories May 12, 2016

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Google is planning on tapping into its Project Tango technology to offer superior interior 3D mapping of buildings and a new revenue stream through virtual reality apps using the platform, Bloomberg reports.

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Location Stories April 14, 2016

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Bluetooth beacons usually only broadcast public one-way signals. By allowing secure and private communication with users, the Eddystone-EID opens up a variety of new use cases for beacons. Along with the new secure open beacon format, Google is announcing a number of new hardware partners that will make compatible devices.

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Location Stories August 27, 2015

Google puts a lot of effort into making the world’s knowledge organized and accessible, and in particular it has a record through its Crisis Response project of making certain information more accessible during times of disaster. Today it released a blog post detailing how it’s doing more to help people be prepared.

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Location Stories July 14, 2015

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Google has just announced a new beacon technology called Eddystone along with APIs that will together make it easier for devices in close proximity to communicate. Essentially, these technologies will make it as easy for devices to communicate as it is to turn to a person next to you and talk in the real world.

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Location Stories July 1, 2015

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In a world where we’re increasingly reliant on our phones to navigate the world, online reviews can make or break local businesses. Lawsuits regarding negative reviews show up in the news at least a couple times every year, and these review pages are increasingly becoming the battleground where individuals protest against businesses partaking in practices they disagree with. On the other hand, however, a good rating online can entrench and create a moat around a business for years to come. That’s why Google now allows advertisers to include their Google reviews in their AdWords ads. expand full story

Location Stories June 5, 2015

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Google has launched a new website that will offer monthly updates on its driverless car project including reporting accidents the vehicles have been involved in. expand full story

Location Stories June 27, 2014

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Almost 100 years ago, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot dead in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip. The fallout from this assassination ultimately led to the start of the Great War (World War I). To commemorate this historical event’s centennial milestone, Google has launched a new portal dedicated to telling the story of this extraordinary time.

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Location Stories June 19, 2014

Google Maps adds Street View imagery for Greece

Google has done a lot of interesting Street View tours recently, which allow Google Maps users to explore streets, parks, historical locations, monuments, and even the inside of some buildings right from their desktop or mobile device. Today Google is adding its 56th country to Street View with the addition of Greece, a country with more than enough cultural and historical monuments to make for quite an incredible Street View experience to explore. As noted by Google, the introduction of Street View can also greatly improve the experience for tourists, businesses and others traveling through Greece:

From now on unique Greek landmarks, such as the Corfu Old Town, the White Tower in Thessaloniki and the Arch of Hadrian in the center of Athens, will be vividly represented on our computer screens… Many Greeks long have been keen for us to bring its benefits to their country, seeing Street View as a powerful tool for the promotion of a country. At a launch event in Athens, Andreas Andreadis, President of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, said the new service will prove invaluable to tourists coming to Greece — and Greek businesses serving them. Visitors now will be able to check their hotel in advance and preview places they want to visit. Street View benefits everyone from the wheelchair user who can check whether a building has a ramp to the elderly who may check whether there are sufficient parking spots before leaving home. Minister of Culture and Sports Panos Panagiotopoulos welcomed Street View in Greece as nothing less than “a gift from God.”

You can check out some of the interesting locations Google captured in Greece in its own Views Gallery collection. 

Location Stories November 11, 2013

Google tracking your store visits to prove its advertising works

Digiday reports that Google has implemented the tracking system it described last month, allowing it to see whether people seeing ads for local stores do in fact visit them.

If someone conducts a Google mobile search for “screwdrivers,” for instance, a local hardware store could bid to have its store listing served to that user. By pairing that person’s location data with its database of store listings, Google can see if the person who saw that ad subsequently visited the store.

Google can do this by default on Android devices – it’s one of the things you agree to in the small-print when you switch on location services – and on iOS devices when people use Google apps.

It’s effectively the real-world equivalent of cookies. When you’re exposed to an ad for the Acme Hardware Store, a cookie will often be placed on your PC. When you visit the Acme website, it can read that cookie and see that the ad worked. This does the same thing for visits to physical stores.

Via Engadget

Location Stories November 7, 2013

Google’s biggest European indoor Street View tour takes you inside one of London’s airports

Finding your way around large airport terminals can be one of life’s more frustrating experiences, especially when you’re in a hurry and for no reason any human being can understand, gates 22-24 are not between gates 21 and 25.

Google is helping lost travellers find their way around London’s second-largest airport, with full Street View imagery of both North and South terminals.

Take your virtual visit here.

Other Street View tours created with Google’s Trekker backpack includes the River Thames, the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Eiffel Tower, a Bond villain’s lair, a trek up to the top of Mount Fuji , animal park tours, a look around the inside of Dr Who’s TARDIS, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and a submarine.

Location Stories October 24, 2013

Google announced today on its Google Commerce blog that it’s rolling out a new tool that will allow any business in the U.S. to create a Google Offer and display the promotions or coupons to user directly through Google Maps. Google first announced back in July that it was rolling out Google Offers to user searching for places on Google Maps for iOS and Android and on the across the web, but at the time only announced select retail partners. With Google’s updated tool rolling out over the next week all business in the U.S. can now easily create Offers that are displayed on Google Maps:

With this launch, your offer can reach customers on Google Maps when they are searching for places nearby or looking for local businesses like yours. Your business will be prominently displayed with a blue tag icon next to it, alerting customers to your offer.

Once a customer saves your offer, we’ll bring them to your door by sharing an offer reminder when they are near your store. We can help remind them when your offer is expiring too, through email and mobile alerts. Just create the offer; we’ll take care of the rest.

Google notes that businesses will “only pay when a customer saves your offer, and you keep the full value of the sales you make.” You can learn more on the Google Commerce blog here.

Location Stories October 14, 2013

Foursquare is squarely moving into Google’s territory with the announcement today that it is officially opening up its local ad platform to all of the 1.5 million claimed businesses in the app. That means that no longer will only a select group of partners be able to offer “Promoted” listings within the app– something Foursquare has been testing in recent months– but now all small businesses will have the opportunity to place local ads.

The benefit over, say, Google’s ads platform for local businesses, is the ability for merchants to actually see if their ad leads to a real customer walking into their store:

Today, we’re opening Foursquare Ads to all small businesses around the world. We’re moving past the days when business owners have to figure out if a “like” or a “click” has any meaning in the real world; now they can tell if someone who saw their ad actually walks into their store. We built this to be simple and flexible, learning from our four years of data and relationships with over 1.5 million claimed businesses. Any merchant can monitor how many people have viewed their ad, how many have tapped on it, and how many actually came into their store. Merchants know what they’re paying for – real actions and real customers.

Business owners interested in creating ads on Foursquare can do so at foursquare.com/adsexpand full story

Location Stories October 9, 2013

Google announced today on its Google Maps blog that it’s rolling out a few new features for the new Google Maps preview based on feedback from users. Perhaps the most notable of the new features is the ability to get directions for routes with multiple destinations:

Whether you’re running weekend errands or planning a cross-country tour, you can plot multiple destinations for your trip with ease – now available for driving, walking and biking directions. Once you’ve chosen a starting point, click ‘+’ and add stops to your route by typing in the search box or clicking on the map… When you’re exploring a new city, find the best way to museums, historic squares, and other attractions by dragging and dropping your destinations in the order that works for you. And if you’re curious before you go, the Views carousel, located in the bottom right corner, is a great way to preview Street View, Photo Tours, and other imagery.

The update also brings flight, hotel and restaurant reservation data right into search within Maps much the same way that Google Search displays similar results from Gmail, Google Calendar and elsewhere. In addition, Maps will now being showing upcoming events: expand full story

Location Stories September 26, 2013

Explore the Large Hadron Collider at CERN with Google Street View

Google has been adding a ton of new tours and Street View collections for locations around the world in recent months, and today the fruits of a recent trip to map CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, have been published for all to explore.

We’re delighted that CERN opened its doors to Google Maps Street View allowing anyone, anywhere in the world to take a peek into its laboratories, control centers and its myriad underground tunnels housing cutting-edge experiments. Street View also lets scientists working on the experiments, who may be on the other side of the world, explore the equipment they’re using.

For two full weeks back in 2011, members of our Street View team from Google’s Zurich office worked with our CERN partners to capture this incredible imagery. You can check out the above experiments, like ATLASALICECMSLHCb and the Large Hadron Collider tunnel in Google Maps, as well as collections of other Street View imagery from amazing sites around the world

You can check out the new CERN Street View collection on the Google Maps Views website here.

We’ve previously pointed to a whole bunch of fun Street View tours – the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Eiffel Tower, a Bond villain’s lair, a trek up to the top of Mount Fuji , animal park tours, a look around the inside of Dr Who’s TARDIS, and even a story of an abandoned dog discovered on Google Maps.

Location Stories August 22, 2013

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Google’s expanded Street View program today added coverage of a range of zoos and animal parks in North America, South America, Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium and the UK. This includes the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, home to more than 30 percent of the world’s Giant Pandas, reports the Google Maps blog.

If you enjoy watching wildlife, but find yourself stuck in the urban jungle, never fear. You can now use Google Maps and Street View to preview the must-see spots at zoos around the world before heading there in person, or take a virtual trip to some of the most famous zoos and animal parks, right from your living room.

The development adds to a diverse range of fascinating Street View tours offered by Google in recent times …  expand full story

Location Stories August 20, 2013

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 to integrate 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: expand full story

Location Stories August 13, 2013

Google gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the Street View team captures imagery

After rolling out a new community-based website called “Google Maps Views” last month featuring 360 degree photo spheres and a collection of panoramas, Google today announced some updates to the project. Not only is it adding more info about locations to the Street View Special Collections included on the Views site, but it’s also giving a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like collecting imagery on a new Street View Treks web page.

Our first two multimedia adventures enable you to experience the Canadian Arctic in Iqaluit, Canada, and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE. We also invite you enjoy photos and videos from our past journeys to the Grand Canyon, the base camp of Mount Everest, the Amazon Basin, the Great Barrier Reef and the NASA Kennedy Space Center — minus the extreme temperatures and long plane rides! If you’re on the Views page for those specific collections, just click on the “About this place” button on the upper right hand corner.

Location Stories July 30, 2013

Google today announced a new community-based website called “Google Maps Views” that will allow users to submit and browse 360 degree photo spheres created on Android devices supporting the feature. It will also feature a collection of panoramas from its Street View Gallery.

Once a users signs in and uploads photo spheres from Google+ or directly from their device, they will have a profile on the Views website that displays all of their content:

To upload 360º photo spheres, just sign into the Views site with your Google+ profile and click the blue camera button on the top right of the page. This will enable you to import your existing photo spheres from your Google+ photos. You can also upload 360º photo spheres to Views from the Gallery in Android by tapping “Share” and then selecting Google Maps.

Users can create the 360 degree photo spheres on many Android devices running Android 4.2 and up as well as, of course, Google’s own Nexus devices and others running stock Android. The Views website will also allow users to submit panoramas shot on DSLRs. expand full story

Location Stories July 16, 2013

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In line with last week’s expectations of an updated Google Maps app, Google, has begun rolling out version 2.0 of Google Maps for iOS today. Most notably, the new application includes support for the large touch screens found on the iPad and iPad mini.

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Additionally, like with the recent update to the Android version, enhanced navigation with incident reports and live traffic updates are included.

Also new is an Explore function to browse popular places such as restaurants, shopping, playing, and sleeping. This feature is integrated with Zagat ratings and deals via Google Offers.

The 2.0 update also includes indoor mapping functionality for malls, transit stations, and airports, according to Google. The new update has begun rolling out to some countries in Asia, but is not yet available in the United States. In fact, Google Maps is currently unavailable to download in the App Store for many countries until this update is released.

Update: Some people have had success downloading the new version of Google Maps by deleting their current version and downloading it from iCloud. (Thanks @ITSFEST)

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Google captures 360-degree Street View imagery from atop the Eiffel Tower

Google has teamed up with the Eiffel Tower Operating Company in Paris to capture Street View imagery from on top of the Eiffel Tower for the first time ever. Not only is it making the Street View panoramas captured with its Street View Trolley available to all, it’s also making “50 archival images, plans, engravings and photos telling the story of the Eiffel Tower’s development and social impact in the 19th century” available through its Google Cultural Institute project:

The first exhibition presents the birth of the Eiffel Tower from the initial idea until its realization. You can then followthe construction of the monument step-by-step through photos and sketches. Details on the inauguration and the first visitors lie in the third exhibition, with photos of people admiring the Paris vista on the opening day leading into today’s Street View imagery from the top floor. Did you know that during the Tower’s inauguration for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, the elevators were not yet in service but 12,000 people per day rushed to climb the 1710 steps leading to the top?

Location Stories June 27, 2013

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On the same day that Google updated all its mapping products, it also demonstrated the gentle art of making a really cool piece of new technology appear deathly dull.

Today we’re announcing a new way for developers to visualize and interact with data hosted in Maps Engine: DynamicMapsEngineLayer. This class performs client-side rendering of vector data, allowing the developer to dynamically restyle the vector layer in response to user interactions like hover and click.

Sure, the blog entry is aimed at software developers, so can be forgiven its language, but the example they use to promote the feature seems more suited to a dusty geography textbook than an illustration of something that could really transform the way we use Google Maps. What it actually means is that you can mouse-over a map to really quickly and easily explore anything from tourist info to property ownership. Read on for more …

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Location Stories June 26, 2013

Google Maps and Earth get refreshed satellite imagery

Google is updating all of its mapping products today with brand new, cloud-free satellite imagery from space that it says “includes refreshed imagery for regions of the world where high-resolution imagery is not yet available, and offers a more comprehensive and accurate view of the texture of our planet’s landscape.”

With the Blue Marble as inspiration, we used Google Earth Engine technology to mine hundreds of terabytes of data from the USGS’s and NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite. The result is a seamless, globally-consistent image of the entire planet with a resolution of 15 meters per pixel, far finer than is possible with MODIS data alone.

Location Stories June 11, 2013

waze_logo2The rumors were true: Google just officially confirmed in a blog post that it has acquired mapping company Waze with some big plans to integrate the Israel-based company’s traffic related features into Google Maps.

WazeGoogle confirmed in the announcement that it has acquired the company but didn’t provide any financial details related to the deal. Waze for now will continue to operate in Israel separate from the Google Maps team, but Google also has plans to integrate its search technology into Waze products.

We’ll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what’s needed to grow and prosper.

As for what specific traffic features you might see come to Google Maps, Google’s Vice President of Geo Brian McClendon notes “The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates.”

Google had been rumored several times in recent weeks to be acquiring the company with the latest reports claiming the deal would be somewhere in the $1B range. expand full story

Location Stories May 30, 2013

Google expanding 360-degree Google Maps Business Photos program to 7 new countries

Google for a while now has been allowing businesses in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Ireland, and New Zealand hire photographers through its Business Photos program in order to capture 360-degree Street View-like imagery for the inside of retail stores and other businesses. The feature allows users to get a 360-degree, interactive tour of a business without ever leaving Google Maps. Today, Google announced it is expanding the program to seven new countries for both photographers and businesses:

Today we’re announcing the expansion of the Google Maps Business Photos program to seven new countries including: Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia, Singapore and Switzerland.

Location Stories May 29, 2013

Google rolls out Street View imagery for New York including Central Park & the 9-11 Memorial

A little over a year ago Google took to Central Park in New York to capture 360-degree Street View imagery using its pedicab trike camera. Today Google is officially rolling out the new imagery to Google Maps users and is also releasing historic images of other parts of the city including the 9-11 Memorial and neighborhoods hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Imagery of Hurricane Sandy To create a space where the New York community can share memories from before, during, and after the storm, we partnered with Historypin on a community photo and video album called Hurricane Sandy: Record, Remember, Rebuild. In the album, you can discover and contribute old and new images of the places that mean the most to you.

Tour the 9/11 Memorial The 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site is a moving tribute to those who lost their lives in the attacks on New York City, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA. Panoramic images of the North and South pools allow you to see victims’ names engraved along the edges of the pools. If you aren’t able to visit lower Manhattan to pay your respects in person, let Street View be your guide to this important and moving memorial.

Explore Central Park It’s hard to find a more beloved piece of the city than Central Park. In partnership with the Central Park Conservancy, our Street View crew went all around park collecting 360-degree imagery of its trails, paths, and plazas, to bring views of both famous and little-known areas of the park to your browser or mobile phone.

Location Stories May 7, 2013

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The unofficial Google Operating System blog posts some screenshots and details of a supposed upgrade to the Google Maps website that is nearing launch.

The experience is redesigned and more immersive due to a greater focus on the map content instead of navigation buttons. The new map tiles also look similar to the interface included in Apple’s proprietary iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Maps software…

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Location Stories April 22, 2013

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Google not only escaped criminal prosecution in Germany after its Street View cars were found to be capturing private wifi traffic, but it has now pretty much walked away scott-free as the Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information fined it just €145,000 ($190,000).

The pointless fine (reported by Engadget) could probably be paid with the change found buried in the seats of the Streetview cars … expand full story

Location Stories April 11, 2013

Google rolls out Map Maker in the UK

Starting today, Google is rolling out its Map Maker service in the UK, allowing Google Maps users in the United Kingdom the ability to join the over 40,000 other people around the globe making contributions to improve the Google Maps experience:

Now it’s your turn to help, whether marking the trails through Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, adding all your favorite shops in London’s Soho Square, or improving driving directions to St Ives in Cornwall. Drawing from your knowledge about world famous tourist destinations or the streets of your hometown, you can now use Google Map Maker to make the map of the United Kingdom (along with Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey) more comprehensive and accurate than ever before. Once approved, these improvements will appear across Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google Maps for Mobile.

Google is encouraging users in the UK to submit contributions through Map Maker and also invited them to check out its “community of mappers” and the “Map Maker Help Center” for additional information.

Location Stories April 10, 2013

Someone at Teehan+Lax may have grown up reading Dr. Seuss as they’ve just created a web service called Hyperlapse, allowing you to create a high-speed Street View animation of any Google Maps route.

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Location Stories March 28, 2013

Google’s latest camera patent features GPS tech that auto-adjusts settings to weather

Patents don’t always become reality, but they—such as Google’s latest camera settings patent— are certainly an interesting look into the possible future.

As reported by Engadget, a new Google patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office describes a method of using GPS technology to auto-adjust a camera’s settings. The GPS would gather data for local climate and tune the camera’s white balance and saturation, for instance, to match the weather.

For those interested, the patent’s legalese abstract follows:

Disclosed herein is a method for capturing an image using an image capture device equipped with a processor. The method includes receiving an electromagnetic signal transmitted from a remote station, determining a location of the image capture device based on the received electromagnetic signal, establishing communication over a network between the image capture device and a remote server, transmitting a request to the remote server for weather information pertaining to the determined location; receiving the weather information, determining an ambient lighting value based on the weather information, capturing an image using the image capture device, and processing the captured image using the determined ambient lighting value.

Photographers can fine-tune their own settings now, obviously, but Google’s patent is an interesting spin on GPS and camera settings. Marrying the two functions together would certainly create new, appealing technology for snapping beautiful images in rain or shine and on the fly.

Location Stories March 22, 2013

Watch how Google captures the Canadian Arctic with its Street View Trekker backpack (Video)

Google has been constantly updating its Maps and Google Earth apps with new Street View imagery in recent months. Earlier this month it began rolling out new imagery for famous mountains including Kilimanjaro and Everest, and now Google’s Street View team is hitting Northern Canada for the first time with its Street View Trekker backpacks:

This is the first Trekker expedition in Canada for Google Maps. I’m wearing the backpack to collect Street View imagery as I walk to the shore of Frobisher Bay, where the wind is the strongest and you can see the tide piling up mountains of sea ice. On the way I’ll pass sled dogs tied up outside houses, yapping in anticipation of their next trip. And I may stop to check out an igloo, built by Inuit craftsmen using methods passed down over a millennia.

Location Stories March 18, 2013

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Google announced today on its Official Blog some that it began rolling out some new enhancements for Google Maps with the addition of famous mountains such Kilimanjaro in Africa and the Everest Base Camp in Asia. Imagery for other mountain peaks is included in today’s update, including: the tallest mountain in Europe; Mount Elbrus located in Russia; as well as the highest in the Western and Southern Hemispheres, Argentina’s Aconcagua.

group shot on everestThese mountains belong to the group of peaks known as the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. While there’s nothing quite like standing on the mountain, with Google Maps you can instantly transport yourself to the top of these peaks and enjoy the sights without all of the avalanches, rock slides, crevasses, and dangers from altitude and weather that mountaineers face. This imagery was collected with a simple lightweight tripod and digital camera with a fisheye lens—equipment typically used for our Business Photos program.

Google also shared a detailed post on its Lat Long blog that details the process of collecting imagery for today’s update.

Location Stories February 14, 2013

Google rolled out the official YouTube app for Wii U in November, allowing users to browse channels and categories from the GamePad and view the video in 1080p on their TVs. Today, as previously announced, Google is rolling out its new Google Maps and Street View solution for Wii U owners with the Wii Street U app available now on the Wii U eShop. The app allows users to view street view and 360 degree content and easily navigate Google Maps using the Wii U GamePad:

With Wii Street Utm powered by Google, you can step into Google Street View with an immersive experience that will make you feel like you’re actually there! View a 360 degree Google Maps Street View of locations all over the world using the Wii Utm GamePad controller’s motion controls. Jumping to a location is easy—just use the GamePad touch screen to type in an address or location and start exploring, or instantly travel to over 70 fascinating, hand-picked locations around the globe.

A video of the app in action is below: expand full story

Location Stories February 11, 2013

Crazy simulation shows how Google’s driverless cars could make intersections more efficient (Video)

The Atlantic Cities (via BusinessInsider) pointed us to an interesting simulation that shows how Google’s driverless vehicles could make intersections more efficient. The animation above came from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, and they imagined an intersection manager helping to direct the flow of computer-controlled cars passing through the intersection.

we won’t need traffic lights at all (or stop signs, for that matter). Traffic will constantly flow, and at a rate that would probably unnerve the average human driver. The researchers have modeled just how this would work, as you can see in the animation below. You have to admit the patterns are mesmerizing even if the whole idea still seems far-fetched. The yellow cars pausing at the intersection in this simulation are old-timey human-driven vehicles that haven’t yet caught up with the future

Those human-driven cars would have to wait for a signal that would be optimized based on what everyone else is doing. And the same would be true of pedestrians and bike riders. Stone says the system is designed to have flexibility under the assumption not all decisions would be made by computers alone.

Location Stories October 31, 2012

On the Lat-Long Blog today, Google announced it is making new features available in the latest version of Google Earth including the tour guide and 3D imagery it rolled out to the mobile apps in July. Google Earth 7 for the desktop now includes “comprehensive and accurate tours of more than 11,000 popular sites around the world, including our growing list of cities where new 3D imagery is available.” Google is also rolling out more accurate 3D imagery for new areas:

In addition, Google Earth 7 now includes the comprehensive, accurate 3D imagery we’ve already made available on Android and iOS for Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Lawrence, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Tampa, Tucson, Rome and the San Francisco Bay Area (including the Peninsula and East Bay). And today, we’re adding more 3D imagery for a handful of metropolitan regions including Avignon, France; Austin, Texas; Munich, Germany; Phoenix, Arizona; and Mannheim, Germany.

You can download Google Earth 7 here. expand full story

Location Stories October 15, 2012

 

Google is sponsoring an upcoming hackathon by Hattery Labs that is awarding two grand prizes to innovators using Google Maps API.

The “Reroute/sf” hackathon runs from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 at The Hattery, according to its Facebook page, and it aims to “improve transportation in San Francisco with technological innovation, and work with the City to make it real.” The three-day event essentially invites engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs to “make San Francisco a better place.”

The hackathon will host three challenges, i.e., “Collect the right data,” “Plan a trip anywhere – on-time,” “See what’s broken and watch it get fixed,” while senior representatives from the City of San Francisco and the technology community will determine who wins the following four prizes:

  • Best Innovation using Google Maps API | $7,500 Grant
  • Runner-up Innovation using Google Maps API | $2,500 Grant
  • Best Public Transit Innovation | $500 Clipper Card credit
  • Best Collaboration | 3 free General Assembly classes per team member

Aside from Google, the Hattery, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Waze, Google Maps, and the General Assembly sponsor the hackathon. The Hattery is a collection of experts ranging from designers and engineers to investors and brand marketers, and some of their most notable collaborative work under Hattery Labs includes giving people clean water and helping Haitians rebuild schools through WellDone and Haiti School Project, respectively.

Registration details below.

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Location Stories October 11, 2012

While still taking its sweet time building a Maps app for iOS, Google is making sure to take care of its own business today by launching the biggest update ever for Street View.

Street View is a five-year-old feature in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views of many streets in the world, and its latest update adds over 250,000 miles of roads from around the globe. Google’s Street View team elaborated on the service’s expansion in a post on the official Lat Long blog:

We’re increasing Street View coverage in Macau, Singapore, Sweden, the U.S., Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway and Canada. And we’re launching special collections in South Africa, Japan, Spain, France, Brazil and Mexico, among others.

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Location Stories September 18, 2012

Google Maps updated with improvements to interior panoramic imagery

Google has been working with businesses to get panoramic Street View-style imagery for quiet a while to essentially provide Google Maps users with the ability to browse the inside of retail stores and other buildings. Today, Google is rolling out some improvements to the feature including an easier way to access the 360-degree imagery. Now, when browsing Google Maps, you can drag the orange Pegman onto any orange circle (which indicate a location with interior imagery) to zoom right into the building:

Now, if you’re searching or browsing Google Maps and want to check out what a business looks like on the inside, we’ve improved your ability to find and view these 360-degree panoramics. Simply drag and drop the orange Pegman on the left hand side of your screen onto an orange circle on the map. Voila! You’ll be virtually transported through the doors, and able to pan around and explore the interior of the establishment.

Google also posted the video above showing off where to find some of these interior business photos.

Location Stories September 7, 2012

Google’s map offerings build in the human intelligence on the front end, and that’s what allows its computers to tell you the best route from San Francisco to Boston.

In an exclusive story by the Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Alexis C. Madrigal, Google for the first time gives us a look at “Ground Truth”. It is a project described by Madrigal as a secretive, complex internal map that contains data, such as “no-left-turns and freeway on-ramps, speed limits and traffic conditions,” necessary to help users navigate through Google Maps:

I was slated to meet with Gupta and the engineering ringleader on his team, former NASA engineer Michael Weiss-Malik, who’d spent his 20 percent time working on Google Mars, and Nick Volmar, an “operator” who actually massages map data. 

“So you want to make a map,” Weiss-Malik tells me as we sit down in front of a massive monitor. “There are a couple of steps. You acquire data through partners. You do a bunch of engineering on that data to get it into the right format and conflate it with other sources of data, and then you do a bunch of operations, which is what this tool is about, to hand massage the data. And out the other end pops something that is higher quality than the sum of its parts.”

Describing Ground Truth to be an elaborate internal Map Maker of sorts, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the story is just how much human input goes into making the Google Maps experience accurate. In the story, Madrigal noted the Ground Truth Geo team aims to address most of the fixable problems reported by users (thousands daily) within minutes: expand full story

Location Stories September 5, 2012

Today on the Official Google Blog, VP of Google Maps and Earth Brian McClendon announced Google is expanding Google Maps to new locations across the globe with the addition of new turn-by-turn navigation with traffic condition data, biking directions, as well as StreetView and Map Maker imagery. The first big addition goes to a number of towns across indian cities such as Bangalore and Delhi:

First, we’re expanding Google Maps Navigation (Beta) with voice guided, turn-by-turn directions in thousands of towns across India. Navigation is one of the most frequently requested features in this region and can be especially helpful when driving in densely populated cities like Delhi or Bangalore. We’re also adding live traffic conditions for major roads with estimated travel times to help you save time and to reduce stress on the road.

New Zealanders are also getting new access within Google Maps with the roll out of both Map Maker and Biking directions in the region. However, perhaps the biggest update today comes with new Street View imagery being released this afternoon for over 150 new university campuses around the world. Google noted a few of the more recognizable additions including UCLA and Royce Hall at the University of California in the U.S, Sophia University in Japan, Pembroke College in the U.K, and McGill University in Quebec. expand full story

Location Stories August 2, 2012

As a special celebration for the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Google announced today that it added a new collection of Street View imagery that allows users to explore the area through 6,000 panoramic views of the complex. To accomplish the task, Google teamed with NASA to capture the special set of imagery. It will allow you to explore outside the facility and areas like the “top of the enormous launch pad.” Some of the locations you can now explore in Street View include the space shuttle launch pad, Launch Firing Room #4, Vehicle Assembly Building (taller than the Statue of Liberty), and the space shuttle’s main engines.

For fifty years, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida has been the launch point for a generation of space technology and exploration. Countless enthusiasts (including this one) grew up longing to see a space shuttle up close and walk in the paths of astronauts. Today, a collaboration between NASA and Street View is enabling people around the world to take a trip to the doorway to outer space, and see Kennedy as it transitions into a multipurpose launch complex for the next 50 years of space innovation… We’d like to thank NASA for making this project possible and giving all of us the chance to digitally walk in the shoes of all of the pioneering astronauts, scientists, engineers and technicians that made our space dreams possible.

If you want to see Google’s largest special collection of Street View imagery for the NASA Kennedy Space Center, go to maps.google.com/nasa now. expand full story

Location Stories July 26, 2012

Image CNET

Update: The Google Earth iOS app has now been updated to version 7.0.0 with the expected 3D imagery and Tour Guide feature.

What’s New in Version 7.0.0

• Tour guide: Explore places you never thought to search for with new tours of your favorite cities, historic landmarks and natural wonders. • 3D imagery: Take flight above entire cities in 3D. Get started with Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Geneva or Rome and look for new additions in the coming weeks. Available for iPhone 4S and iPad 2 or later.

About 12 percent of 9to5Mac readers are now on iOS 6 with Apple’s in-house 3D Maps. The larger population of iOS users, however, can only get a fix of 3D maps by heading to Google Earth, which today gets an update to 3D maps, according to CNET. The 3D maps for iOS were formerly announced at Google I/O last month, and it appears the feature will go live today.

Just like iOS Maps, the 3D stuff only works on recent hardware like the iPhone 4S and the second- and third-gen iPads. Meanwhile, 3D was enabled on Android Maps at Google I/O.

iOS users are getting those same 14 regions, including Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston and others. As Google adds more 3D cities to its database, both those platforms will get them at same time.

So just how soon will Google get some more 3D cities in its repertoire? It’s in the works says Peter Birch, a product manager on Google’s geo team.

“By the end of this year, we’re targeting getting coverage for 300 million people, and that’s really just this year,” Birch said in an interview with CNET. “We’re looking to add and expand to that.”

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Location Stories July 12, 2012

This is cool, but…Pro Tip: Going is still significantly better. expand full story

Location Stories June 28, 2012

What’s new in Google Maps? Google posts full I/O session [Video]

The video above is the full Google I/O 2012 session on “What’s New in Google Maps” with Googlers Brian McClendon, Dylan Lorimer, and Thor Mitchell. We already saw much of what is talked about at Google’s “Next Dimension of Google Maps” event earlier this month, but the full talk focuses mainly on improvements to the Google Places API.

Google Places covers tens of millions of place locations around the world. But what’s a place? A place is anything that answers the question “Where are you?” Restaurants, shops, landmarks, events, and much more. You can use it in the browser, from a server, or from a mobile device. This talk will show you how to get started with the Google Places API, and focus on how you can use this huge datastore in your mobile application.

For all I/O 2012 sessions, go to https://developers.google.com/io/

Location Stories May 9, 2012

Google just updated its Maps for Android app to version 6.7 by adding a number of notable new features like integration of Google offers, indoor walking directions, and new 360-degree Street View-like panoramic views for the insides of certain buildings.

As for Google Offers integration, Google will launch the feature only in the United States and provide access to the deals through a new “Offers” option within the app’s “Maps” drop-down menu. The app will also let you opt-in to receive notifications for nearby deals. The feature is limited to the Android app, but we are likely to see Offers integration across all Google Maps products in the near future.

Another new feature rolling out to both U.S. and Japanese users is the ability to get indoor walking directions, but this is in addition to the indoor floor plans launched earlier this year in version 6.0 and will only rollout to select buildings initially.

Taking advantage of its Street View technology, Google is introducing 360-degree panoramic views in version 6.7. To access the feature, Google noted to keep an eye out for the “‘See Inside’ section on the Place page of select businesses.”

Google Maps 6.7 for Android is already available to download from Google Play here.

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Location Stories April 20, 2012

Google plans to launch its Street View mapping service in Israel on April 22, but the project is apparently already online.

According to Dutch blog Websonic (translated), Street View images are live in the capital city of Jerusalem, as well as in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Merhavia, Kfar Kama, Nahsholim, and Beersheba. The Street View above is of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, also known as the Western Wall, which is one of the city’s most popular and sacred tourist spots.

For those who live under a rock: Google Street View is a service highlighted in Google Maps and Google Earth that offers panoramic views of streets. It launched in 2007 in the United States and has expanded to many cities and rural areas worldwide. Street View in Israel is significant, because it is the first time Google has published street imagery online from any Middle Eastern country.

An image gallery is below.

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Location Stories April 4, 2012

Google today revealed what we have been talking about for months (here and here): Google Glasses.  The project is called “Project Glass,” and now there is even a Plus page on it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Via Hugo Barra

I probably do not have to say this, but TAKE MY MONEY!!!! expand full story

Location Stories April 2, 2012

Google announced today that its live traffic pattern service will now include roads, not just highways.

“Starting today, if you’re planning a trip for which you anticipate traffic, you can find out what typical traffic is like on these arterial roads, rather than just on highways,” explained Google Maps Software Engineer Szabolcs Payrits on the official Google Lat-Long blog. 

Drivers can type their starting and ending points into Google Maps to get directions, but they must enable the traffic layer in the upper right-hand corner, and then click “change” in in the legend to view Typical Traffic on regular roads.

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