Are Apple’s Fancy 3D Rendered Maps Better Than Google Maps? See For Yourself [Images]

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Apple made a controversial decision when they decided to ditch Google Maps in iOS 6 entirely in favor of their own mapping and navigation service. When it comes to software, I think it’d be safe to say this has been one area Apple has always excelled in. You may have heard some of the hype surrounding Apple’s new 3D mapping invention technology, giving users the ability to fly around a map like Peter Pan, soaring around photo-realistic 3D structures and gazing into young women’s bedrooms.

Google Maps has long been Google’s feather in the hat, a crowning achievement of modern technology in the digital age. But can Google Maps even hold a candle to the “magic” of Apple’s 3D rendered maps? Let’s take a quick look at some famous landmarks when viewed through the eyes of Apple’s new 3D maps, and compare ‘em to Google’s tried and true Street View. Maybe you can tell me which you think looks best.

Would make a really cool sequel to Fallout, not really functional in real world usage though…

Looks like this 3D modeling stuff is nothing more than a gimmick. A ruse. A pretty box that inside, is empty. The most unfortunate part about all this is that when Apple goes to war, sometimes it’s their own users that get caught with the short end of the stick. The perfect example of Apple cutting off their nose to spite their face. 3D maps isn’t even the half of it. A Michael Degusta said it best in a blog post when he pointed out all the features iOS users would be losing upon updating to iOS 6:

“On the plus side, at least people are getting turn-by-turn directions and Apple’s Flyover feature in exchange, right? Not so fast: 20 countries (population: 3.2 billion) are losing transit, traffic, or street view and getting neither turn-by-turn nor Flyover. The biggest losers are Brazil, India, Taiwan, and Thailand (population: 1.5 billion) which overnight will go from being countries with every maps feature (transit, traffic, and street view) to countries with none of those features, nor any of the new features either.

It gets worse. Even in countries where turn-by-turn and/or Flyover are available, the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and the 4th generation iPod touch won’t support them. These devices are owned by tens of millions of users who may update over-the-air when prompted, only to find they’ve lost features and haven’t even gained any of the marquee Maps features in return.”

So why have I dedicated an entire post to Apple’s maps on an Android blog? With the iPhone 5 hitting new sales records its first weekend, you’d be fooling yourself to think that Apple hasn’t wooed more than a few Android users with promises of security and their “fancy” apps. Just when it comes to maps and navigation — arguably the biggest weapon in the smartphone war — Google Maps still finds itself unmatched. To put it bluntly, Apple’s maps app sucks. Big time. Hey iPhone users, I see you got some pretty 3D maps and I’m happy for you, I really am. But maybe it’s time to switch to an OS from a company that doesn’t tell you what they think is best for you. Just a thought.

[Via Gizmodo | Additional reading: The New York Times]


Google Brings Live Traffic Conditions To 7 New Countries, Updates 19 Existing Ones

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For a few of our friends over seas, you can now finally view live traffic conditions in Google Maps to help you plan that hectic morning commute. The service is now available in 7 new countries/regions including Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Mexico, Peru, Romania and South Africa, just to name a few. The service is also being updated with expanded coverage in 19 existing countries like Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the UK.

For those of you new to the service, Google’s traffic monitoring gives users real time results and even estimates travel time based on traffic conditions. In congested areas like Los Angeles, I don’t know what I’d do without. Enjoy!

[Google Lat Long Blog]


Google Maps Updated With Easy To Find, Easy To Save Google Offers and Indoor Walking Directions

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Today, Maps was updated to version 6.7 in the Play Store and integrates Google Offers inside the Maps app. adds the new features to see available Google Offers in your area, straight from within the Maps app. Clicking on Maps dropdown menu inside the app pulls up a list of all nearby available Offers in your area, and you can even switch to map view and see exactly where each of them are located. See something you like? You can either redeem the Offer and that time, or save for later — the choice is up to you. And, if you like, you can even opt-in to receive notifications whenever there are offers nearby.

Also added was their all new indoor walking directions for businesses that have provided Google with their floor plans. Now, you’ll never find yourself lost inside a new mall, always knowing exactly how to get to Cinnabon in the shortest amount of time (still waiting on turn-by-turn indoor navigation).

[Play Store Link]


Take A Tour Inside The White House Using Google Maps Street View

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Okay, it’s stuff like this that makes it hard not to love Google. The Google Art project has teamed up with the Street View team to allow anyone in the world to take a virtual 360 degree tour of the White House, using nothing but Google Maps. You can actually take the very same public walking tour from your Android device, as if you were there in person.

As someone who hasn’t traveled much, this is a fun way for me to take a tour, I might not have otherwise seen in my entire life. The fellas at Google even used their powerful HD cameras to capture super high-resolution pics of all the artwork, allowing users to zoom all the way in to brush level, viewing every stoke of paint used to craft these historical paintings. It’s amazing and I can’t wait to share this with my friends and family. You can take the virtual tour for yourself on your computer using the link below, or on your Android device by looking up the White House, and then diving into Street View. Pretty cool, huh?

[Google Art Project | Via Gizmodo | Ubergizmo]


Google releases Foursquare competitor, keeps it in the down-low

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Google’s latest update to its Maps application took place just a few days ago. We did not see much of a change, as it only brought some bug fixes and improved battery life, but Google had sneaked in a very pleasant surprise. Lattitude check-ins now earn you points, which affect your social score in a Google+ leaderboard.

Competition is usually affected when Google releases new services. If possible, we try to stick to Google products, as they work seamlessly with the Android operating system. This service is much to the likes of a popular social check-in network called Foursquare.

Things seem to be a bit tricky now. Many users can’t access the service yet, and others have to check in before even realizing it is there. We are not used to checking-in via Latitude, though. But it is likely that Google is setting things up for a better check-in experience.

Go ahead and try to check it out. And just out of curiosity – how do you guys usually check-in? I mostly use Facebook, but that is because it is what most of my friends use. I would love to see more people adopting better services out there.

[Source: Android World Via: Engadget]


Google Indoor Maps Helps Us Navigate CES, Blackjack Tables

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Navigating the show floor at CES is like completing a quest in the consumer electronics edition of Fable 4, but a recent update to Google Maps may unlock the door to a virtual cheat code. With a recent update to the omnipresent Google Maps, Android users can now navigate indoor maps for popular Las Vegas locations such as the Las Vegas Convention Center and The Venetian, the two most important locations for CES attendees.

Also included in round one are the MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, and The Palazzo, although I’m a bit nervous it might work too well: finding the nearest ATM after you’ve nearly gone bankrupt at the blackjack table could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

For those of you following our CES coverage from home, check out the online demo which should give you an idea how the technology works. As more and more companies and organizations submit their maps, it will be exciting to see how this technology is used and adopted by the public: there are certainly logistical challenges when trying to pinpoint locations indoors.

In addition to the obvious application of indoor navigation, it will be interesting to see how quickly this is leveraged into a gaming environment where FPS and racing games take place on levels based on real-world floor plans. If you’re doubting that this is realistic endeavor, take a look at the Navigation based game coming to Google Games in February:

Give Google Indoor Navigation a test and let us know what you think in the comments. It’s only available in select locations for the time being, but here is the full list of available locations. Do you think the ability to upload indoor maps could eventually lead to privacy concerns if 3rd parties start uploading private residences and other areas that would otherwise be off limits? Any other forseeable negative issues?

United States

  • Akron-Canton Airport (CAK)
  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)
  • Boise International Airport (BOI)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • George Bush Houston International Airport (IAH)
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
  • Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL)
  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
  • DDR Corp. shopping centers in Puerto Rico, including Plaza del Atlántico in Arecibo, Plaza del Sol in Bayamon, Plaza Rio Hondo in Bayamon, Plaza del Norte in Hatillo, Plaza Palma Real in Humacao and Senorial Plaza in Rio Piedras
  • Vallco Shopping mall in Cupertino, CA
  • Brixmor Property Group including Eagle Rock Plaza in Los Angeles, CA
  • Mall of America
  • Macy’s*
  • Bloomingdale’s*
  • Home Depot*
  • Ikea*
  • Caesars Entertainment – Bally’s Las Vegas
  • Caesars Entertainment – Caesars Palace
  • Caesars Entertainment – Flamingo Las Vegas
  • Caesars Entertainment – Harrah’s Las Vegas
  • Caesars Entertainment – Imperial Palace
  • Caesars Entertainment – Paris Las Vegas
  • Caesars Entertainment – Planet Hollywood
  • Caesars Entertainment – Rio Las Vegas
  • Las Vegas Convention Center
  • Las Vegas Sands – The Venetian
  • MGM Resorts – Aria Hotel & Casino
  • MGM Resorts – Bellagio
  • MGM Resorts – Circus Circus Hotel & Casino
  • MGM Resorts – Crystals Retail
  • MGM Resorts – Excalibur Hotel & Casino
  • MGM Resorts – The Hotel at Mandalay Bay
  • MGM Resorts – Luxor Hotel & Casino
  • MGM Resorts – Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
  • MGM Resorts – Mandalay Bay – Four Seasons
  • MGM Resorts – Mandarin Oriental
  • MGM Resorts – MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
  • MGM Resorts – The Mirage Resort & Casino
  • MGM Resorts – Monte Carlo Resort & Casino
  • MGM Resorts – New York, New York Hotel & Casino
  • MGM Resorts – Signature
  • MGM Resorts – Vdara Hotel

Japan

  • Narita International Airport
  • Haneda Airport, International Terminal
  • Haneda Airport, Domestic Terminal
  • JR East in Tokyo and Chiba (main stations)
  • Tokyu Corporation (main stations)
  • Tokyo Midtown
  • Daimaru
  • Matsuzakaya
  • Tokyu
  • Mitsukoshi
  • Takashimaya
  • Odakyu
  • Isetan
  • Keio
  • Matsuya
  • Seibu
  • Tobu
  • Printems Ginza
  • Marui
  • Marunouchi Building
  • Shin-Marunouchi Building
  • Marunouchi OAZO
  • Marunouchi BRICK SQUARE
  • TOKIA Tokyo Building
  • Shibuya 109
  • 109 MEN’S
  • Miraikan
  • Roppongi Hills
  • Venus Fort
  • Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro
  • DECKS TOKYO BEACH
  • remy gotanda
  • LaLa port TOYOSU
  • The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)

[Thanks iJoe!]


Feel Like Crying Without Knowing Why? Watch This Video Made Using Stop Motion Animation And Google Street View

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Call me a sap, call me emotional. I don’t know why, but something about this video… the wanting to experience something more, the yearning to get away from this desk and travel the world. It just hit home. Built entirely using stop motion animation and Google Street View, the creator tells the story of a simple desk toy who longs to escape the dark confines of the office and take a cross country road trip down the Pacific coast. A trip anyone can take with a little bit of time and using the power of Google Maps. Enjoy.

[Theoryfilms | Facebook]


Google Maps 6.0 Adds Indoor Maps, Keeps Getting Better

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Google Maps has come a pretty far way since its first incarnations. Real-time navigation has expanded to include public transit and walking directions, once 2D map data has turned 3D, and now the app is taking us inside buildings for the first time. Indoor maps are a fresh addition to Google’s web version of maps, but the mobile counterpart doesn’t have to wait to take advantage of the new feature. Zooming in on a location will bring you a look at the indoor layout, including floor plans based on your exact location to within a few meters. The service should be expanding to more locations, but for now can be experienced in various airports and shopping malls around the country.

Other updates include an Ice Cream Sandwich-tuned UI that makes navigating between features within the app all the easier. Places also gets a refreshed home screen displaying popular local searches based on location. You can download Google Maps 6.0 from the Android Market now for your Android 2.1+ device.

Android Market Link: Google Maps

[via Google Mobile Blog]


Google Maps Updated In The Android Market – Adds Nearby Event Lisitings To Places and More

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Google Maps was updated in the Android Market today and among the more notable changes was the addition of “live events” to the Places page. Android users in New York, San Francisco, Paris, Zurich and London will be the first to enjoy this new feature that gives you real-time listings of events in your city. This will be great for bored folks or frequent travelers.

Maps also lost a “feature” with the removal of the “Post to Twitter” option when a user writes a review in Places (no doubt soon-to-be replaced by “Post to Google+). Oh, and you may have noticed that Latitude received a spiffy new icon in your app drawer, replacing the old Donut looking version of yester-version. Jump on the Market and get to updating!

[Market Link]

[Images via Verge]