It's nice to stop every once in a while and realize just how much Google search has improved over the years. For quite a while, Google didn't really prioritize time-sensitive content versus regular content when it crawled the web. This meant breaking news stories were cached about as frequently as Wikipedia entries on the history of the Roman Empire. That didn't really change until the events of September 11, when Google realized people who were searching for news on the attacks were instead being greeted with tourist information for the World Trade Center.
All these small improvements are hard to notice individually, but they really add up over time. Read More
Google Maps received a fairly minor update last night, bumping it up to v9.15. There aren't any big visible changes, and even the teardown was pretty light, but there is one addition to the Settings screen that's worth mentioning. Under the Notifications section is a new checkbox titled "Traffic information." Obviously, it lets you shut off traffic notifications, which might be fairly handy if you already know they're coming or there tend to be a lot of false positives reported in your area. It's not the most exciting feature, but it will certainly matter to a few users.
This is the only noticeable change to the interface we've seen so far, but there may be some others lurking in a corner we haven't checked yet. Read More
So here's the scenario: you're in San Francisco for the first time. You're starving, but have no idea where to go, what's good, or where to even start. What do you do?
Now, you can open Google Maps, hit the Explore link, and get all the recommendations you could ever hope for. But not just "hey, here's some stuff near you" - starting now, Google is offering curated results in San Francisco, New York City, and London. Basically, this will make it easier to find exactly what you're looking for around your location. That's pretty awesome.
If you're not in any of those areas, though, you can still get the "hey, here's some stuff near you" recommendations, and it looks better than ever thanks to the new interface (in the US and UK only, though). Read More
Google Maps is arguably the best way to get from point A to point B, but it is also one of the best ways to explore places around you. From restaurants, to movie theaters, to state parks, Google Maps has all the information you could ever need. How does Google have information for all of these places? Surely there can't be a couple people sitting in Mountain View documenting every mom and pop shop in the world. In fact, most of the information that appears in Google Maps is there because of contributors. There are Googlers who help verify information, but the contributors are the people who add addresses, hours, reviews, etc. Read More
You've been driving for two hours, and you've got at least two more. You're tired of sitting behind the wheel and you want to stop and stretch your legs, but that just delays the inevitable. There aren't any alternatives, so you soldier on as that robotic voice of Google Maps occasionally pipes up to let you know there's a turn in 2 miles.
Hey, wait a minute, why does she get to tell you what to do? You gave her a phone, a data plan, and you're driving her around. You're taking care of her, so why does she act like the one in charge? Read More
The app updates from the last week seem to be all about where you are, where you've been, and where you're going. It has only been a few days since Google Play services 7.8 began rolling out with a couple of location-related bits hidden inside, and now a new version of Maps is hitting the scene with a host of new features centered around our location history. We can now look back through the places we've visited, when we were last at certain spots, and the routes we've taken. Read More