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[Birthday] Google Maps Turns 10 Years Old Today, Let's Take A Look Back

It might be hard to believe, but the Google Maps we know and love launched 10 years ago today. Before Android, Chrome, Google Plus, Youtube, and most of the other services that make up the core of the Google experience, we had Maps. And while it might be saying too much to argue that Maps led the way to Google's recent successes, it is certainly under-appreciated for its role.

The Beginning

Google Maps wasn't the first online map service. It also didn't obviously relate to Google's claim to fame: search. It's important to remember that by 2005, Google was no start-up anymore.

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Google Maps Updated To 9.3 With Shareable Directions [APK Download]

Google Maps, for its part this Update Wednesday, has received a bump to version 9.3. The changes aren't immediately apparent to users just opening the app, but there are at least a couple of things worth mentioning in the new update.

First, shareable directions. Once a user looks up directions or navigation to a destination, they can share the directions with any app in the normal share menu or - if Google Glass is connected - to Glass.

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Users can also permanently dismiss the GPS nag dialog that pops up if a user's location settings aren't ideal for Maps. (Thanks Allen!)


The app also comes with new permissions, including access to Bluetooth settings and devices, and the ability to run at startup.

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[App Roundup] Our Top Seven Picks For The Best New Apps Of December 2014

While December was a huge month for Android games, you can't say the same for more standard apps - despite a large number of new apps that came out, only a handful were all that interesting or innovative. (Heck, one of our apps below is specifically meant to record video games!) For what it's worth, here are the seven most interesting and/or innovative apps that came out this month, and some others thrown in for good measure.


AZ Screen Recorder - No Root

Android Police coverage: AZ Screen Recorder Is A Non-Root Lollipop Screen Capture App With Plenty Of Options

We had a handful of apps in the last roundup that took advantage of Lollipop's root-free screen recording, but this one is a clear standout.

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[Update: Changelog Posted] Google Maps v9.2 Adds Navigation Settings For Voice Level And Tilt, Auto-Corrects Misspelled Searches [APK Download]

The Maps team has been on a roll ever since the Material makeover early last month. None of the new features are inherently huge, but there is some serious fine-tuning going on. With the release of v9.1, businesses and landmark pages became more informative. The trend continues in v9.2 as there are new improvements to the interface for Navigation and search.

What's New

Google just updated the changelog on the Play Store page for Maps. A couple of these features look familiar and may have already been around, but not necessarily announced until now.

What's New
• Filter search results for restaurants by cuisine type
• See your Google contacts when searching for addresses
• Business owners, claim your listing page to manage your presence on Maps
• Bug fixes

The biggest change in this release can be found buried in the settings screen, about half-way down the list.

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[APK Teardown] Google Maps v9.2 Contains Elements For Crowdsourced Local Guides, Chromecasting, And Project Tango

Google Maps is one of those apps that will always have an enormous number of potential new features, so it's interesting to see the things Google is focusing on with each new release. We just saw an update to v9.2 with new navigation settings and auto-correct for searches, but there are plenty of other really interesting additions in the works. Let's take a look at some of the features we might have to look forward to. It's time for a teardown.


Disclaimer: Teardowns are, by their nature, speculative and based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
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[APK Teardown + Download] Google Maps 9.1 Offers Helpful Tips About Your Destination And More

Since Google Maps got its update to version 9.1 yesterday, we've been taking a closer look to figure out exactly what's new, and - of course - taking a quick look inside as well.

So far, it doesn't seem like a huge update, but there's at least one big change worth highlighting. In 9.1, Maps will provide helpful information about your destination or a location you look up. The app will give you the current weather and time at the given location, and will provide some fun facts too. (Thanks Chakravarthy for pointing this out.)

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It also looks like Maps will respond audibly to users' requests to "show traffic" or "hide traffic" in the new update.

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Google Play Services 6.5 Rolling Out Now With Granular SDK Dependencies And New Features In Fit, Maps, Drive, And Wallet [APK Download]

Most of us don't want to think of Android without Google Play services. There's a good reason for that, without all of the tools Google offers, we would miss out on features like push notifications, integrated maps, and even newer things like Google Fit. Developers keep asking for more and Google is answering that call. With the latest release of Google Play services, new features are coming to Fit, Maps, Drive, And Wallet. Also, when the SDK lands, it will finally answer the single most common complaint from developers: that the GMS library is just too damn big.

GMS - Release Blog Nacho - Map Toolbar

Maps will receive the lion's share of new features with Play services v6.5.

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Google Earth Updated To v8.0 With New 3D Rendering Tech, Better Maps, And More [APK Download]

Google is rolling out a big update to the Google Earth app, and as usual it's a staged deployment. Never fear, we are here with an APK download. In this new version (8.0) you'll find better 3D images, cleaner maps, KML import, and more.


What’s New

Google hasn't updated the changelog on the Play Store yet, but there's a whole blog post about Google Earth v8.0. The gist of it is that 3D images will look much better now with the new rendering engine. Roads will also get nicer labels and updated data at the same time as Google Maps going forward.

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Hands-On With Nokia's HERE: A Complement To Google Maps With A Few Aces Up Its Sleeve

For the longest time, my only involvement with smartphones was limited to Nokia's Symbian devices, then I bought an HTC Desire Z in February 2011 and the rest, as they say, is history. I was immediately ecstatic about most of the Android experience save for two aspects where my heart strings kept tugging back to my Nokia N8: photography and mapping. Android cameras have improved a lot over the past three years — I am amazed by the Lumia 1020's scary-good 41MP sensor, but my LG G3 does an excellent job 99% of the time — and so did Google Maps, but at no point has Google's mapping service completely levelled up with parts of the experience that I used to get through Nokia Maps, even in 2010 on an N8.

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Waze Update 3.9 Adds User-Submitted Places With Custom Directions And Photos, Plus Parking Assistance

When my mother was growing up, her official address was "the street behind Winn-Dixie," Bossier City. Trying to find her old house today on Google Maps might prove something of a challenge. If you often need to call for help or ask the locals when trying to find a new place, you'll appreciate the latest update to Google acquisition Waze. Version 3.9 of the driving assistance app lets users add custom locations to the map for business or residential addresses, complete with user-submitted directions.

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The custom notation doesn't end there: you can add just about any pertinent information to a new or existing address.

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