Places Stories June 23, 2015

Instagram Android app adds revamped Explore tab w/ trending content, improved search

Instagram is rolling out an update today for its Android app bringing two major new features, including a redesigned Explore tab and improved search functionality. The company said the updates will “help connect our community to the world as it happens,” or in other words, a more real-time experience thanks to new trending Tags and Places within the Explore tab. 

With more than 70 million photos and videos posted to Instagram every day, wherever something is happening, chances are you can see it here. Whether it’s behind the scenes at the NBA Finals, on the runway with the latest fashion trend at a favorite club with a local band, people are capturing moments large and small on Instagram. But, until now, there’s never been an easy way to find these moments.

On top of the new trending tags and places in Explore, the company said it will be adding curated collections of images based on various themes, such as specific people or places, and featuring content from across the network.

The updated Explore feature is first rolling out to users in the US as part of the 7.0 update for Android that also adds improved search functionality:

For everyone on Instagram, we’ve dramatically improved the ability to find what you’re looking for. With the new Places Search, you can now peer in at just about any location on earth, allowing you to scout out your next vacation spot in the South Pacific, get a look inside that hot new restaurant or experience your favorite music festival — even if you couldn’t make it this year. The new Top Search also lets you search across people, places and tags all at once.

You can grab Instagram version 7.0 for Android on Google Play today. 

Places Stories June 15, 2015

Google Maps for Android now lets you know if your destination will be closed upon arrival

Most of us have at least once in our lives driven to a place or business or to discover upon arrival that it’s closed. It sucks, and Google has decided to address this in version 9.10.1 of Maps for Android.

 

In addition to now showing you car rental reservations alongside your flights and hotels, the new version will pull data from Google’s vast places database to determine whether or not the place you’re traveling to will be closing around the time you arrive. As you can see in the image above, the place I input closes at 5:30PM and my approximate arrival time is 5:07PM, so Maps gave me a warning at the beginning of navigation so I won’t arrive too surprised. The update should be arriving for most users now through the Play Store.

Places Stories March 18, 2013

FastCompany today posted an in-depth look at the differences between Apple’s MapKit and Google’s recently launched Google Maps for iOS SDK from the perspective of developers. The lengthy piece gets insight from several iOS app developers with apps that rely on the SDKs and sheds some light on a few things that Apple is doing much better than Google despite a perception from users that Google Maps are superior:

“Google doesn’t currently charge for the Places API, but they do require a valid credit card for access–which gives you a quota of 100,000 daily requests. So you have to wonder if they plan to start charging sooner or later,” McKinlay explains. “That 100,000 limit perhaps sounds reasonable, but each user session can generate many requests–particularly when using the ‘autocomplete’ feature of Tube Tamer–and some types of requests count for 10 times the quota each, so it can get used up pretty quickly.”

While noting that Google wins out with location lookup services, 3D buildings, directions, geocoding, and better hybrid satellite imagery, the developers were also quick to point out downsides of the Google Maps SDK such as quotas for the Places API, an increased app size, and limitations with markers, gradient polylines, and overlays.

Developer of transportation app Tube Tamer, Bryce McKinlay, discussed some of the benefits of using Apple’s MapKit: expand full story

Places Stories December 13, 2011

Last week startup Clever Sense launched their local recommendations app called Alfred on the Android Market. Previously only available as an iOS app, the service uses a proprietary engine to make recommendations for nightlife, food, and other local attractions without requiring the user to enter a search query. Today, Clever Sense has announced on their website that they have been acquired by Google and their team will be joining Google’s to further develop the recommendation tech built into Alfred.

As for what might possibly come of the acquisition in terms of Google services, Clever Sense CEO Babak Pahlavan makes a point of mentioning “Google helps local businesses connect with potential customers and its worldwide presence can bring the value of Clever Sense to a much larger audience.” Perhaps Google services like Offers and Places will benefit, but the company has yet to make an official statement.

Below are the important bits from Clever Sense’s statement: expand full story

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