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google maps

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Google disables location sharing in Google+ before enabling it for everyone in Google Maps

Last week, Google announced new location sharing features in Google Maps that would allow you to easily share your current position momentarily or indefinitely with select people. The option is the same that we've had in Google+ for a few years, except it would now be in the app that made most sense, Maps. It also follows Google's trend of decoupling options and features from Google+.

In the official announcement, Google said the feature would be rolling out "soon" worldwide, but didn't give an exact timeline, and we have yet to see it on our devices regardless of the version of Maps we're running.

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Google Maps v9.49 beta adds a manual parking location tracker, weather indicator for mass transit navigation, and more [APK Download + Teardown]

It's always good to see useful new features in the apps we use often, and Google Maps rarely fails to bring something new with every update. The latest bump to v9.49 is no different. This release adds a few new toys for users to enjoy. There's a new capability to manually save your parking location so it's easier to get back to your car, weather predictions for your destinations while setting up navigation, and more. There's even a quick teardown that shows search results will soon support sorting.

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New Level 4 Local Guides for Google Maps will no longer receive free 100GB of Drive storage

Local Guides is a program by Google Maps in which you "help others explore the world and get great benefits in return" (Google's words, not mine). Well, it looks like those great benefits are about to become merely average benefits, as Google is completely ditching free Drive storage for new Level 4 Local Guides, who currently get 100GB for one year.

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Google Maps v9.47 makes Timeline entries more accessible, redesigns the blue dot menu, and puts a share button where it belongs [APK Download]

Google opted to set loose a small deluge of updates late into Wednesday afternoon. The first we're checking out is the Maps app, which was just promoted to version 9.47. This update doesn't appear to bring any major new features, but it takes a couple of steps to weave the Timeline feature into other parts of the interface and completely redesigns the blue dot menu. We're still looking for changes, so let us know in the comments if you stumble onto anything else.

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Google Maps list sharing is official, will start rolling out today

Using Google services as a couple or a group is sometimes a little tough. Some services lend themselves well to sharing, like Keep, Drive, Photos, and Calendar, but others are often cause for frustration. What if you have a common group of contacts you want to always keep up-to-date with others? How about an easy way to get emails from common friends and events and subscriptions without opening a common inbox? The worse though is Maps: you don't have an easy option to share your trip plans or starred places or list of attractions or restaurants you want to visit. That has been a big annoyance for me as I check different honeymoon options with my fiancé.

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Google Maps v9.46 beta adds review sharing, tweaks notifications, and markers for on-site parking [APK Download + Teardown]

A new beta update of Google Maps began rolling out late Tuesday night. The changes aren't particularly major, but they might tie up a few loose ends. If you're a Local Guide with a few points to your name, this version will bring the ability to share links to individual reviews. There are also some tweaks to the notification settings, including a new notification for people with business listings to maintain. Finally, there's an improvement to the parking difficulty rating system, but it may not be live yet.

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Google's researchers explain the challenges and calculation process behind the new Parking Difficulty feature in Maps

A few weeks ago, a new Parking Difficulty icon started showing up in Google Maps 9.44 beta in some cities in the United States, then Google officially announced it and specified where it's available. It also said that the estimate is "based on historical parking data," similar to how traffic and popular times and visit durations are calculated, but it didn't go into a lot of details. Now those details are further clarified in a post on the Google Research Blog.

The difficulties of calculating parking availability stem from the many, many factors that can influence the equation: time and day and weather and holidays/events, permit or illegal parking in park-meter areas, vacant spots with paid park-meters from cars that left early, parking lots with multiple levels and different structures, and so on. Even with these issues accounted for, there's the false data coming from private/gated parking spots, taxis dropping users who look like they immediately found a parking and reached their destination, and bus stops showing up in the data sets as popular parking spots.

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Google Maps makes the bottom bar for exploring places, real-time traffic, and transit info official

It's been more than 4 months since we first spotted a new bottom bar navigation interface in Google Maps, and now the layout is official. Google has announced it on its blog, saying that "when you're on the go, there's no time for apps that can't keep up," and this is exactly why this change is important.

You'll no longer have to swipe the left menu to get to the Driving Mode, or tap to search to explore nearby places, or start driving to check the traffic around you. All of these will be accessible from the bottom bar that you can simply swipe up.

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Google Maps v9.45 beta brings redesigned arrival cards and timeline emails, prepares for sharing user-created lists [APK Teardown + Download]

Google Maps was recently promoted to v9.45 in the beta channel. This update includes a partially redesigned arrival card when users reach their destinations and introduces a feature where Google will send emails with highlights from your timeline. Turning to the teardown, it's clear that Google will soon allow users to share their custom lists with others. As usual, there's a download link at the bottom of the post, but since the v9.45.1 update came out shortly after the .0 release, both versions are linked.

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Google Maps now offers a tab for photos of amenities in hotels and other lodgings

Over the last few months, the team working on Google Maps has been making it easier for users to browse photos of different landmarks and businesses. Each location includes a space set aside for pictures, but a few types of businesses also sport dedicated albums. Some of the examples include pictures of the food and atmosphere inside restaurants. A new album just joined the list: photos representing the amenities available at hotels and other similar lodgings.

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