Recently, we posted about a new feature Google was testing to help users better "explore" their surroundings, offering more fine-tuned exploration options for a user's immediate vicinity or their destination, with suggestions of what to do in the area based on time of day or conditions. The interface would apparently get its own button in Google Maps' primary view, but the button only appeared for a few users at the time.
There are a lot of goodies in the newest version of Google Maps, which just started rolling out to devices last week. However, some users are getting a bonus that didn't show up in the changelog. We've been able to get a few confirmations of a new Explore Nearby tool in Maps that offers much more fine-grained control of location-based suggestions.
Yesterday’s update to Google Maps was certainly no slouch for new features; it came packing some great improvements for cyclists, new voice commands during navigation, and a few other interface tweaks. In addition to these public changes, there are also two brand new features buried within the code which are not active yet, but they may point to some exciting stuff on the horizon.
"I Am Here"
Google Maps is pretty good at figuring out where we've gone; between GPS, Wi-Fi, and even things like BLE-based iBeacons, it's possible to pinpoint our locations just about everywhere, even inside of buildings.
A couple of months ago, we posted one of our early Google Search/Now rumors, and it was something of a long range rumor compared to others. While things like parking reminders, proper timer management, and bill pay reminders have already seen their public release, the ability to set contact-based reminders ("remind me when I'm with this person"), hasn't come forward yet. But it will likely appear very soon with a new feature in Android called Nearby, which will allow new interactions between you and nearby people, places, and things.
Google's social boss was kind enough to give us the rundown of what was in the new G+ update this morning, but he did omit a few key details. One feature in particular that didn't get mentioned finally makes that location screen worth using. You can now jump directly into turn-by-turn navigation to make your way to wherever your friends are on the map.
It's still Update Wednesday here in San Francisco, and just when I thought I was done for the day, Google decided to upload yet another new version of one of its core apps - Calendar v201404011. And it's a big one, folks.
Location suggestions of nearby places
The main change in this update finally addresses (no pun intended) what I consider the most requested feature missing from Calendar for Android, which is actually present in Calendar on the web - location suggestions for places known to Google Maps.
Sony's SmartBand is a little more than a fitness tracker, but it's not a smart watch either. This device ties into the Sony Lifelog app to track your movement and connect the dots between your physical and digital activities. Interested? The SmartBand and Lifelog app are hitting the market in over 60 countries next month. That means only a few more weeks of using your dumb brain to remember things that happen to you.
The expansive parking lots of your local mall can be a nightmare as you scan the sea of metal and glass to find your car. There are plenty of apps that will set a GPS marker to help you find it, but you have to actually remember to use them. Auto Finder takes care of things for you all on its own, though. Just install the app, and it always knows where you left the car.
Adaptxt 3.0 isn't ready for the big league yet, but a beta is available that's introducing some rather intriguing functionality. Most interesting, it gives users the option to have the keyboard's built-in dictionary auto-populate itself with nearby street names, relevant addresses, and nearby landmarks. Of course, this somewhat creepy feature is optional, and typists who don't trust it can choose to manually save addresses instead.