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.
Google held a press conference today where several new search features were unveiled, including some pretty nice improvements to the Google Mobile site. Among these features is the addition of Google Places on the main Google page, with quick links to areas of common interest at the bottom. Tapping any of the icons uses geolocation to provide results specific to the area that you're in.
Also announced were improved search capabilities in the browser and the ability to add additional details to Instant results by tapping the plus sign next to the suggestion that you wish to alter.
Facebook for Android has been notoriously slow to release updates and features in general, and last night's update reaffirmed that the app is nowhere near the top of Facebook's priority list. The Deals feature has been available on iOS since early November of 2010, only reaching Android almost 3 months later. According to the changelog, the Deals functionality is the only addition to the app, so let's take a quick look at how exactly you are going to find said deals.
Wondering how and when that newfangled Near Field Communication (NFC) techology in the Nexus S will be put to good use? Thanks to a new post on the Google Mobile Blog, we now know where the Goog is starting off: businesses. Specifically, they're looking to help businesses use the nifty tech to share some info about themselves to curious people passing by.
How does it work? Google is sending out kits, complete with window decals, to businesses around Portland.
Unveiled earlier today, Google's new service, called Hotpot, promises to recommend places to you based on an extremely simple rating system that allows scoring and ranking establishments from one to five stars. Additionally, you can rate individual characteristics, such as food, service, and atomsphere, as you can see below. Hotpot's release was accompanied by a simultaneous refresh of the Google Maps Android app (version 4.7), which brought along the fairly significant addition of Hotpot to the Places component of the app.
Today at the Facebook Mobile event, Mark Zuckerberg announced the newest version of the Facebook Android app with support for Places and Groups. We didn't have to wait long, as the update hit the Market mere minutes after the announcement (don't you just love how instantly apps go live in the Android Market, as opposed to some other markets we won't be naming here?).
Here is the changelog:
- Groups: share posts with small groups of friends
- Places: share where you are with friends, see where friends are, discover places nearby
- Improved Notifications - view comments and updates within the app
- Various bug fixes