mapping Stories May 23, 2014

Google’s Project Tango 3D interior mapping technology, which will shortly be appearing in a tablet, is also taking to the air. A team from University of Pennsylvania led by Professor Vijay Kumar are using a Tango-equipped smartphone to enable a quadrocopter to navigate the interior of a building …  expand full story

mapping Stories May 23, 2013

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Bloomberg reports that Google is considering making an acquisition offer for mapping company Waze. Numerous reports over the past few weeks have claimed that Facebook is also eyeing an acquisition of the maps firm.

Google Inc. (GOOG), maker of the Android operating system, is considering buying map-software provider Waze Inc., setting up a possible bidding war with Facebook Inc., people familiar with the matter said. Waze is fielding expressions of interest from multiple parties and is seeking more than $1 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The Palo Alto, California-based startup might also remain independent, instead seeking to raise a round of venture capital financing, the people said.

Waze’s price-tag is current said to be around $1 billion.

Google’s potential bid would likely create a bidding war with the Menlo Park-based social network. Bloomberg reiterates that Apple is not in discussions with Waze. Rumors from earlier this year claimed that Apple was eyeing an acquisition, but many of those claims were immediately debunked. 

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mapping Stories January 20, 2012

A tipster over at the Google Operating System blog pointed out a small —but welcomed— tweak in Google Maps that lets you highlight areas of interest based on upon search queries:

When you search for a city or a county or a ZIP Code, Google Maps now highlights the boundaries of what you searched for. If you are zoomed out, the whole area is shaded pink. If you zoom in a bit, it has just a big pink border with grey shading. Zoom in even more and it’s a dashed boundary with grey shading.

In the above screenshot, I searched for Cupertino, Calif., and Google Maps automatically highlighted the city’s area inside the map view, allowing me to visually grasp the size of Cupertino. Note that the highlighting feature does not work in other Maps views, such as satellite. expand full story

mapping Stories October 13, 2011

What do you get by marrying Google Maps to WebGL, a software library that extends the capability of the JavaScript programming language to allow it to generate interactive 3D graphics within any compatible web browser such as Google’s Chrome 14 or Firefox Beta? Pure awesomeness, that’s what. They are calling to Google MapsGL and it enables “far richer visuals and animations”, the search company wrote in a blog post this morning:

WebGL is a new technology that brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser without additional installed software. With WebGL your maps experience is much better with 3D buildings, smoother transitions between imagery and the ability to instantly “swoop” into Street View without a plugin.

Just visit maps.google.com and click “Try it now” to take hardware-accelerated Maps for a spin. We wrote in the past about WebGL-based Chrome experiments worth checking out, including a remarkable water simulation and interactive music video.

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mapping Stories September 7, 2011

We now know that Baidu Yi, a brand new mobile operating system unveiled Monday by Baidu, the dominant search engine company in China, is forked from Android. We knew it would be stripped of Google search, but we haven’t been aware of the extent of customization. A DigiTimes story from this morning indicates the software cuts all ties with Google services:

Baidu’s new software platform will feature map, e-book reader, cloud storage and search functions.

Baidu yesterday forged a partnership with Dell, which is expected to unveil first Baidu Yi-powered tablets and smartphones this November, in time for the holiday shopping season. Some even think Baidu Yi gear will roll out worldwide rather than in China only. The publication also highlights another interesting nugget we haven’t known, that Dell will preload devices with an Android-based app of its own.

Basically a storefront to the online Dell store, the app will allow for buying Dell computers online and giving ratings. No doubt Dell sees Baidu Yi both as an opportunity to drum up publicity for their ailing tablet business and upsell consumers to their computer products. No word on whether Baidu Yi will run a customized user interface atop Android, similar to Samsung’s TouchWiz or Motorola’s MotoBlur.

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mapping Stories August 2, 2011

Stunning 45-degree views are now available in Maps for more places in the US and abroad.

Never content with resting on its laurels, Google have been iterating their products at a pace faster than ever before. Here’s a quick overview of some of the noteworthy changes we spotted in Google’s popular services, such as Docs, Tasks, Chrome Web Store, Blogger and Maps. The latter now features breathtaking 45° imagery for many more US cities (full list here), including international locales, such as Córdoba, Spain. If you haven’t yet seen highly detailed aerial photography in action, definitely give it a try now by checking out the Córdoba, William P. Hobby Airport or the Houston Ship Channel 45° views from all four directions.

Chrome Web Store, the Google-ran online repository of web apps, now supports more markets, having added sixteen new countries for 31 countries in total. In-app payments in web apps distributed on Chrome Web Store are also a go-go: Google confirmed paid transactions in web apps will be available to users in twenty countries “later this year”. Zyngas of this world will love it, that’s for sure. More features in other services right below the fold.

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mapping Stories July 28, 2011

Photo credit: Lasse Engelbracht on Flickr

Google’s been steadily improving its mapping application for Android and the web. Over the past 30 days, Google updated Maps with ‘My Places’ tab and added offline maps and stop-by-stop public transit navigation to Google Maps for Android. Starting today, the search giant wrote in a blog post, public transport directions are available for the London Underground in both web and Android apps, including all Underground, bus, tram and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) lines:

Let’s say you’re at Trafalgar Square, and you want to visit Madame Tussauds. With a simple directions search, you’ll see all the possible public transport connections. In Maps, click “Get directions” in the left-hand panel, and then the train icon to see public transport directions. Enter your departure location next to A, and your destination next to B. These can be either street addresses or names of popular places, businesses or restaurants. When you’re done, click the “Get directions” button and suggestions for your trip will appear below.

Mobile Maps utilize your phone’s location in order to figure out an optimal rout  to your destination, but you’ll also have be presented with multiple alternatives. On Android devices public transport directions are available with Transit Navigation (Beta) in Google Maps, meaning your phone can even alert you when it’s time to get off the tube at your destination.

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mapping Stories May 6, 2011

Google has optimized the Google Earth service for Android Honeycomb-driven tablets, tailoring the user experience and features to a larger canvas compared to that of smartphones. “It makes Earth look better than ever on your tablet”, Google said. “It’s like moving to IMAX”, product manager Peter Birch joked in a blog post.

Moving from a mobile phone to a tablet was like going from a regular movie theatre to IMAX. We took advantage of the larger screen size, including features like content pop-ups appearing within Earth view, so you can see more information without switching back and forth between pages.

Features include a handy action bar that provides quick access to commonly used functions including flying to a location and navigating to various places of interest. Visually, the web app will take advantage of 3D-accelerated chips powering the latest Android tablets like the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab…

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