A new Google Maps update is rolling out today. For most people, this version might not have a big impact quite yet, but it's introducing a new feature for some high-level members of the Local Guides program. Those that qualify will be able to create custom lists of saved places. For the rest of us, there's a new notification for local traffic and voice commands to avoid toll roads, highways, and ferries. There are also a few new things to check out in a teardown, including integration with another service, another tease about ordering food, and more. Read More
Google Maps received a fairly minor update last night, bumping it up to v9.15. There aren't any big visible changes, and even the teardown was pretty light, but there is one addition to the Settings screen that's worth mentioning. Under the Notifications section is a new checkbox titled "Traffic information." Obviously, it lets you shut off traffic notifications, which might be fairly handy if you already know they're coming or there tend to be a lot of false positives reported in your area. It's not the most exciting feature, but it will certainly matter to a few users.
This is the only noticeable change to the interface we've seen so far, but there may be some others lurking in a corner we haven't checked yet. Read More
In Lebanon, we have one seaside road where traffic direction reverses reliably at 11am and 11pm to lower congestion and help more people get into or out of Beirut as fast as possible. It doesn't do miracles on very busy days, but it helps a bit. The idea isn't unique to us and if you live in big metropolitan U.S areas with heavy traffic on some of the highways, then you know what reversible lanes are. The problem is that mapping software doesn't take these lanes into consideration when planning your routes, or isn't always up-to-date on the direction or load of traffic in those lanes. Read More
In just 3 weeks, we expect Google to officially announce a new subscription option that will allow users to enjoy YouTube completely ad-free. In the lead-up to this, both the web service and its Android apps have received a swarm of updates and features. In just the last month, there has been a revised web player, search for 360-degree videos, and some improvements to YouTube Kids (with more to come). There has even been a pretty severe service interruption for Music Key subscribers, most likely as a result of upgrades to the software. With so much happening, it comes as no surprise that the YouTube Creator Studio app also received an update. Read More
No one app is going to make an Android device immediately safe from any and all threats, but some can make it easier to remain ever vigilant. viaProtect may one day be such a app. This piece of software gives you a basic idea where the apps installed on your phone or tablet are sending your information. It doesn't go into specifics, but it will at least show you how much of your traffic is encrypted and some other security-related information.
Perhaps more interestingly, viaProtect offers a look at what companies' servers your data is speeding off to and where they reside in the world. Read More
One of the advantages of using Waze for navigation has long been its real time traffic reporting by way of a committed user base. Now Google's acquisition of the company is bearing fruit as that live-updated data is being piped into Google Maps.
Google Maps can already estimate traffic conditions based on the movement of Android devices, but this new source of data is more exact. It will tell Maps users about accidents, road closures, construction, and other general traffic frustrations. The feature will be available to users in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, UK and the US. Read More
One of the coolest features of Google Maps is the ability to show live traffic patterns on major roadways. Now, Google is rolling out this feature to seven new countries, as well as expanding coverage in 19 others. The new countries in the inner circle are Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Mexico, Peru, Romania and South Africa. Exciting!
As users of the service are no doubt aware, having your country or city covered doesn't necessarily mean every street is covered. So, Google is expanding to include more of the roads a man must walk down. Here's the full list of expanded territories:
- New Zealand
- Puerto Rico
All in all, it's a solid update to a valuable service. Read More
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, speaking at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference, teased a possible solution for customers who feel beleaguered by tiered data, and who have been avoiding data-heavy services due to plan limitations.
Stephenson suggested that, as part of new "toll free" data plans, certain data-hungry services' traffic would be excluded from users' monthly data allotment, meaning that services like, for example, Netflix, could be used without eating up your entire data plan.
According to FierceWireless, Stephenson indicated that content providers have been suggesting this approach prior to today's talk:
"I think you'd be stunned if we weren't getting those phone calls.