This last spring, a couple of trolls took to Google Map Maker and created a park that looked like a bugdroid peeing on an Apple logo. Google's reaction to this was removing the ability to make edits using Map Maker altogether, and the community was told that the feature would be added in at a later time. A couple of weeks ago the service came back to life in six countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, India, the Philippines, and Ukraine. Read More
Back in February, we told you about a new experimental service at Google called Tablescape. The app, which at the time served as a stylized funnel for content tied to Google+, encouraged users to upload "foodographs" (photos of food) with specialized categories like "naughty," "cheesy," and "vegetarian" among others. It would also show featured content and special foodography tips for users.
Just a few months later, though, Tablescape was unceremoniously closed, the experiment ostensibly over. But in the update sent to testers, Google was sure to note the following:
This doesn't mean we're giving up on food photography, you may see the influence of Tablescape in future apps.
If you felt like Google clubbed you over the head with tons of announcements and releases last week, you're not alone. Between giving out the codename for Android M, a new preview release, an Android Wear update, and about a dozen other things, it was a huge week. Toward the end of the onslaught, a fairly innocuous update to Google Maps bumped the version up to 9.13 and it has a couple of useful shortcuts that deserve a look. There's also a new Google app, but it's not in the Play Store, and that deserves a Teardown-style discussion of its own. 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
Most of the app updates this week were relatively quiet, with the notable exception of Play Music with its new ad-supported radio feature. That doesn't have to mean some of the updates don't have something new to offer. The Google app (formerly "Search") was bumped up to v4.8 yesterday, but it doesn't seem to have any noticeable changes right now. However, a look under the hood reveals some pretty interesting features on the horizon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. There is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature discovered in a teardown.
A new update to Google's Maps application is out, but the wait for offline navigation must go on. This is a relatively minor version bump, so we're not going to see the big features mentioned at I/O, but that doesn't mean there aren't still some pretty good things in this release. We now get to enjoy a new photo gallery view, car rental bookings will be shown, and there are a few pleasant improvements in Settings.
New Photo Gallery View
Left: old photo view, Center: new photo gallery, Right: new single photo view
A few weeks ago, Google made some subtle changes to the interface for uploading photos for locations you had visited. Read More