Back in November of 2015, Google expanded its Local Guides program with a points and level system that introduced new rewards for each tier. At 200 points, you would reach the coveted Level 4 and receive 1TB of free Google Drive storage for 2 years. Now Google is backing away from that promise and lowering the amount of free storage to 100GB only.
It might be that Google Maps' recent updates that incentivize you with notifications to post photos, reviews, and answer questions about places you're visiting have had a positive effect and Google is seeing more and more people reach Level 4. Read More
As we discovered in our teardown of Maps v9.31 beta last week, Google has been working on implementing true multiple waypoint directions in the Maps app for Android. Unfortunately, we couldn't actually get the feature to, well, work. But according to multiple tips we've now received, the feature appears to be going live for end users. Multiple waypoints will allow you to set "stops" along your route, as shown in the hero image and the screenshots below, a very handy feature indeed. Read More
The Landsat 8 satellite was launched by NASA in 2013 to snap photos of Earth in higher detail than was possible before. This is an open project, so you can dig through all the data if you want. Today, we get to enjoy the benefits of Landsat 8 in a more convenient way. Google has rolled out improved worldwide satellite imagery in Google Earth and Maps using the data acquired by this satellite. Read More
The update to Google Maps v9.31 brought a couple of fixes for users on Android N developer previews, not to mention some other small changes for everybody. But the most interesting things about this version are still buried below the surface. Yesterday, I covered support for offline maps to be installed on an SD card, and now it's time to dig into the rest of the teardown. If SD card support weren't enough, there are a couple of other features here that have been hotly requested for some time, so it's pretty clearly the Maps team is working hard to fill out the feature set for users. Read More
Google Maps is my go-to tool for finding local businesses, but it isn't always the most transparent way to see them at a glance. For example, I'll search for a café in a major retail hub, but half the results will be from the Starbucks inside Target or the little deli inside a grocery store - not exactly what I'm looking for in a quiet meal. Things might soon get a little easier on that account: the Google Asia Pacific blog says that upcoming versions of Google Maps will list business types right in the map view... but only in Japan for now. Read More
And here's reason number 249 not to install beta software onto a device that's critical to your everyday life. Android Auto users who have upgraded their Nexus phones to the latest version of the Android N Developer Preview are reporting that Google Maps navigation is no longer working in the car interface. (Remember, Android Auto isn't an independent system - it needs a powered-up and connected phone in order to work.) The Maps app is simply crashing on launch and returning users to the Auto home screen. Read More
A couple of months ago, while tearing down an updated APK, Cody found hints that Google Maps would be crowdsourcing to curate suggested edits to Places. The feature didn't appear to go live then, but it seems that it's been showing up for some users over the past couple of weeks.
If you're checking a place in Google Maps, you might start seeing notes in yellow below certain information telling you that someone has submitted an edit for said info. Tapping that surfaces a card which is very similar to the ones that Google Maps uses to ask you questions about Places. Read More
Google appears to be rolling out a new UI for suggesting attributes of businesses and places in Google Maps on Android. The new UI would appear to possibly be a replacement for the card-flow suggestions UI that has been rolling out for a number of a months now, and is substantially more compact.
The new attribute suggestions UI is surfaced right in the summary section of the place card of a business, with bolded text guiding Maps users to provide information. The UI is a categorized list of large radio-style selection buttons which allow you to suggest attributes for a business like "Beer," "Healthy options," or "Good for kids." Instead of the more time-consuming and arbitrary yes/no/maybe card flow, you get to choose which information you want to vouch for. Read More