A few months ago I wrote "Stock Android Isn't Perfect," an article where I turned my usual harsh UX critique on stock Android, instead of just picking on TouchWiz and Sense all the time in my reviews. The article went over pretty well, and even got a few responses from Googlers! I didn't cover everything that was wrong with Android, though, and there have been a bunch of updates since the original article, so it's about time I wrote a sequel.
After having successfully survived a thunder-snowicane and completed a black-ops mission into a post-apocalyptic New York City to pick up a Nexus 4, APK Teardown HQ is back up and running. We've accumulated a bit of a backlog, so today's entry is a 2 for 1 deal: Google Maps 6.14 and Google Search 2.1.
Maps is getting real-time traffic rerouting!
Now, you might be saying "But Maps already takes traffic into account, look at this blog post!" but let's take a look at what that blog post really says:
Google Maps was already pretty great, with comprehensive Street View coverage in countries around the world, but it just got a little bit better thanks to the 'biggest Street View update ever', which is rolling out today.
Street View coverage has now been increased in no fewer than 11 countries, including the U.S., Britain, and Canada, with over 250,000 miles of roads being updated and added.
The number of special collections, which allow you to see tourist attractions in countries all over the world on Street View, has also been doubled, with new locations added in South Africa, Japan, Spain, France, Brazil, Mexico, and more.
Google Maps is awesome. You know why it's awesome? Because of stuff like this. On the Lat Long Blog today, Google announced that it has implemented new 45-degree flyover imagery in 51 cities (such as below) around the world - 37 in the US, 14 abroad.
Satellite imagery has also been updated. 17 cities have refreshed space-based shots, along with 112 various regions in a whole bunch 'o countries. So, today's probably a prime opportunity to go around gloating to those friends of yours who are, shall we say, less geographically fortunate.
Street View can be used to see the world in Google Maps, but - up until now - users were forced to stay on land. That all changes today, as Google has added the very first under water panoramas to Google Maps - and they started with The Great Barrier Reef.
In a post on the Lat-Long blog, Google highlights some of the more notable things to check out, including a close-up of a sea turtle with a school of fish, a majestic manta ray, and - probably the most beautiful of all - The Reef at sunset.
Hello and welcome to a new feature! I'm going to start calling this "What's Really New," the series where we do more than just post a change log with the canned screenshots when something important gets updated. We're going in-depth (as usual). We'll be ripping apart APKs, doing full side-by-side comparisons, and, hopefully, letting you know about all the cool new stuff before it comes out.
Previous experiments in this area have been a stunning success.
Last week, after Google Maps received a public transit-minded update, it became apparent that the app wasn't playing nice with the HTC Rezound. Befuddled user reports spilled in, relaying tales of inexplicable reboots and crashes. As always, the community found a solution but, unfortunately, the only solution ended up being the "uninstall updates" button.
T-Mobile today acknowledged the Maps update's issues with certain handsets, posting a support document related to the HTC Sensation 4G's problems with the app.