This weekend the tech world was abuzz with rumors that Google had purchased Israeli mapping and navigation software maker Waze for a sum of over a billion dollars. Today Google has made it official, thanks to a post on the company blog from the VP of Geo, Brian McClendon. While Google declined to mention exactly how much it spent on Waze, it's a safe bet that it was a lot, since both Apple and Facebook had previously expressed interest.
Right off the bat here at Google I/O, the company is telling developers about some awesome new tools for apps. A new series of APIs will enable a variety of new services for both developers and end users. Here are some of the highlights.
Version 2 of the Location API, which includes:
- Geofencing (assigning triggers to specific geographical locations) and up to 100 fences per app
- a fused location provider, which should allow for active location gathering at just 1% battery drain per hour or increased accuracy
- Activity recognition - API can recognize if users are walking, biking, driving, et cetera.
While Google's UK Maps service is far from incomplete, it's not easy to comprehensively cover a vast array of British towns and countryside without a bit of local knowledge. Hopefully, that's exactly what we'll get with the launch of Google Map Maker in the United Kingdom, including the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.
The idea behind Map Maker is that local residents can contribute to Google's existing maps, and when any additions or edits have been approved, they will become available on Google Maps and Google Earth.
Back in December, we noticed that a bunch of countries had been added to the list of supported areas for Google Maps Navigation. That list was promptly updated to remove most of them, but now it looks like they're (almost) all back and available for use right now, including Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovakia and more.
Here are all the new countries that have been re-added to supported list:
- Ivory Coast
Of those, we have independent confirmation from users in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, and Slovakia that turn-by-turn navigation is available as of right now, which leads us to believe that the entire list is legit.
Back in 2011, Google added the ability to keep up with live transit updates to Google Maps. After all, commuters in big cities that require cars to get around (like my own Atlanta), have traffic info for highways. Why not people who primarily use the subway to get around? One glaring omission from that service, though, was the New York City subway system. Today, that problem is rectified.
Starting today, seven lines of the MTA will show live arrival and departure times for stops along their routes.