A new version of Google Maps began rolling out late last night. The immediately visible changes are semi-cosmetic, including some slightly more informative details, but there aren't any obviously huge additions to see here. As we turn to a teardown, there are signs that reviewers will soon be able to start writing, then save their work as a draft. Also, if you're going to be driving in Jakarta, Indonesia, Google Maps is going to make it easier to deal with odd-even driving restrictions. Read More
In its quest to make our lives easier, Google has recently taken on the travel industry by giving us search tools for flights and hotels, as well as an app to help us plan and organize trips we've already booked. Google Search already shows when a slight adjustment to travel dates can save us money, but now it's adding more robust tools for people whose travel dates are more flexible. Read More
Depending on where you're at in the world, you may have some holidays coming up that demand long drives and a lot of time watching a screen as Google Maps directs the way back to family. There's a new update out that might make your trip planning and navigation just a little better. Version 9.41 has a new option to always start up in satellite mode, adds links to articles about top-listed businesses, and polishes the look for adding stops along a route. There are also hints that it will show when a hotel is running a good deal. Read More
Each year in the US, it's estimated that somewhere between ten and twenty thousand people are victims of human trafficking, mostly for some form of prostitution or abusive labor. A disproportionate amount of these victims are women, children, and immigrants. Law enforcement agencies and non-profit groups all over the country attempt to stop the trade of human lives, but the clandestine nature of the operators and the cooperation of apparently legitimate businesses makes actual tracking and prosecution difficult, and only a tiny fraction of the estimated victims are freed. Read More
If you saw our post about last month's update to Maps, you may remember a teardown showed hotels would soon gain listings for amenities. Google didn't keep us waiting for long; amenities can now be viewed on many hotel listings and in search results. As usual, we've got the download links below if you don't want to wait for the slow rollout to hit your device. Read More
Offline navigation and search (and a few other things) are now legitimate features in Google Maps, even if most of us can't use them until our individual accounts are blessed by Mountain View. I get it, I'm in the same boat. Even though there are quite a few additions in this update, it seems that a couple of things didn't quite make the cut; but there are bits and pieces that show they're in the works. A teardown shows that we're probably going to see prices for different types of fuel, rather than just regular. Read More
A relatively small Google Maps update to v9.8 began rolling out last week, adding batch photo uploads and a way to restrict bookings from showing up in location screens. It turns out there was another secret feature waiting to be shown off. In the latest version, a search for one of four key phrases will pop up results related to your personal bookings. Just try asking for my events, my flights, my hotels, or my reservations to see a short list of personalized results.
This functionality is new to Google Maps on Android (confirmed with v9.7.1), but it's not exactly fresh to Google. Read More
Groupon is a good resource to turn to for people who love to buy or experience new things but hate paying full price. The service offers discounts on everything ranging from refurbished electronics to entrees for two at the local bar. It also does vacations, and now Groupon has released a separate Android app that's dedicated entirely to getting away.
Sporting a fresh and modern interface, Getaways by Groupon can help users snag affordable trips to far off places. It will toss up discounts for tourist destinations all over the world, with some packages also including travel. The app can display how money is being saved, how many people have purchased the package, and how much time remains until the deal ends. Read More
Orbitz.com, one of the top online travel/booking resources around, has just released a new app – Hotels by Orbitz, meant to help users find, book, and enjoy hotels in thousands of destinations world-wide, whether you need a room tonight, or want to book a future stay.
The app, which has a somewhat slick – though not strictly holo – interface, not only lets users search for and book hotels, but also provides access to Orbitz Mobile Steals – "exclusive mobile-only discounts of up to 50%." The app also allows you to find hotels based on your current location, and sort search results, like with Orbitz's online interface, by best value, lowest price, or by distance. Read More