Google Maps Gets New Features

Google Maps Gets New Features

Feb 14, 2016

Maps, Google’s preeminent mobile navigation utility, is receiving an update that is available to users now.

WHAT’S NEW

• Callouts for the current street/road and next turn in navigation
• Walking man becomes a hiker on Directions screen when distance is far
• Suggestions for editing Home and Work now include points of interests, in addition to addresses

Maps is available for free.

Scout Navigation Adds Features via Update

Scout Navigation Adds Features via Update

Dec 7, 2015

Scout GPS Navigation & Meet Up is a pretty vibrant navigation tool with social elements, and with an update rolling out now, it’s adding some cool features.

A real nice one is the new 10-minute proximity update feature. Also, the widget has been improved upon.

It also looks like Night Mode is has been tweaked.

WHAT’S NEW

· I’ll be there in 10 – automatically send an ETA update when you’re 10 minutes away. Because, stuff happens.
· Widget users – your maps are back, and now you can share ETA to Home and Work from the widget.
· Night Mode – It’s automatic, and updated – better visibility when light is low.

Scout remains free on Google Play; there are subscription options available for premium features.

Google Maps Adds More Offline Functionality via Update

Google Maps Adds More Offline Functionality via Update

Dec 4, 2015

Anchor mobile navigation tool Google Maps has been picking up some serious enhancements, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping; it’s latest update, which is rolling out now, brings even more goodies.

Per its Google Play page, it is adding the ability to search and navigate offline, calculate distances between two map locations and show the price of different grades of gasoline in the US.

WHAT’S NEW

• Get directions, search for places and navigate offline
• Measure distance between points on a map
• Prices for different grades of gasoline (ie Premium, Midgrade, Regular) in the US
• Bug Fixes

Google Maps remains free on the Play Store.

[via Google Play]

Google Maps Adds Search-Along Feature

Google Maps Adds Search-Along Feature

Oct 26, 2015

When it comes to anchor apps, Google Maps all but defines the term for a lot of people; it is almost certainly the preeminent navigation utility on mobile today.

On Android, it is especially appreciated, and is getting even better with an update that is rolling out now.

Most prominently, it now allows users to search along a current route. Per the Google Lat Long blog post detailing the enhancements:

When you’re driving in navigation mode and you get that call from your spouse to pick up some more milk on your drive home or if you’re on a road trip and want to find a great restaurant option along your route, simply tap the magnifying glass at the top right corner of the screen. You’ll see a drop-down menu with helpful options, like gas stations, grocery stores, or restaurants. If the drop-down options aren’t what you need, you can always add a detour to your favorite coffee shop by tapping the search icon or by using voice commands.

Google Maps remains free on Google Play.

[via Google Lat Long Blog]

Screenshot_2015-10-25-17-03-53

Scout Navigation Gets Update

Scout Navigation Gets Update

Mar 18, 2015

Scout, TeleNav’s social navigation tool, is getting in on the update train with a few tweaks and additions.

The app — formally known as Scout GPS Maps, Meetup & Chat — continues to be a feature-rich voice navigation tool. Additionally, we get:

* It’s about the people you know – new phone number verification means you connect with only people you know and those who know you.
* Smile for the camera – Add a profile pic by snapping a new one or grabbing one from your existing photos on your phone
* Know where you need to be and when – See upcoming Meet Ups on the map
* Last but not least, we squashed a whole bunch of bugs

We had an opportunity to check out Scout a while ago, and we mostly liked it. We have kept an eye out on it ever since, and since the review, it continues to add features.

The app itself is free (with available in-app subscriptions) on Google Play.

Google Maps Gets Update

Google Maps Gets Update

Jan 15, 2015

Google Maps, the preeminent cross-platform mapping utility, just received an update.

Per the app page on Google Play, the new build includes:

• 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 update is rolling out now; Google Maps remains free on the Play Store.

Google Maps Gets Update, Adds Dynamic Routing

Google Maps Gets Update, Adds Dynamic Routing

Nov 25, 2014

Not content to rest on its Billion Download laurels, Google Maps continues to get better. It has just added more features with its latest update, most notably dynamic routing around closures.

It is also adding Quick Facts cards on POIs with time and weather.

Of course, there are also the requisite bug fixes.

Google Maps is available for free on the Play Store

Nokia’s HERE Comes To More Android Devices

Nokia’s HERE Comes To More Android Devices

Oct 21, 2014

We noted the arrival of Nokia’s HERE mapping application on Samsung Galaxy devices a short while ago; now, the program is being made available to even more devices.

Now, HERE Maps is available for all compatible device, Samsung Galaxy or not, via the beta download page.

When one downloads the beta apk and installs it on a compatible device, the app opens and presents one with the option of signing in “the old fashioned way” or using a Facebook account. The former asks for name, date of birth and password, and then welcomes one to the app.

The app is particularly vibrant, and showcases the features that made it a hit on Windows Phone, chief of which is arguably full offline functionality. Another interesting feature is the Glympse integration. With this, folks can share locations with friends without any extra apps needing to be installed. It also boasts traffic and public transportation info for select cities, and the web management component is definitely a plus.

It should be noted it is still in beta; as such, feedback is actively requested.

As noted, the app is available via the beta download page.

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[Source: HERE Blog via TNW]

Samsung Galaxy Phones getting Nokia’s HERE Maps

Samsung Galaxy Phones getting Nokia’s HERE Maps

Aug 29, 2014

In the world of mobile mapping, Nokia’s HERE is probably the most well-regarded outside Google Maps; it is a well-designed application that brings value o devices it resides on. Now, select Android users can enjoy a new beta version.

More specifically, Samsung is taking advantage of a licensing deal and bringing HERE to Galaxy device users. HERE will offer offline functionality, walking, driving and public transportation options, Glympse compatibility in addition to standard turn-by-turn directions in supported locales.

Additionally, the app will pair with the upcoming Samsung Gear S Smartwatch.

For now, the announcement notes the program will be available for Galaxy devices; no specific Galaxy devices are explicitly excluded just yet.

According to Three Sixty, the official HERE blog, HERE will be available when the Samsung Gear S formally hits stores.

As noted, it is a free offering; no word on whether the app will find its way to other Android devices in the future.

[Source: Three Sixty HERE Blog via TechChrunch]

CoPilot Premium Review

CoPilot Premium Review

May 27, 2014

When it comes to mobile navigation software, the scene is packed; if there is one thing Google Maps has done, it’s to create an enviable situation for consumers: to compete in this space, developers have to come correct, or not bother coming to the party at all.

CoPilot is not a rookie piece of software, and as such, seeing how it stacks against competing solutions on Android is sure to be an interesting ride.

The interface has the bright-but-serious look that one might expect from a mapping solution, with default sky blue on white backgrounds making up the basics of the menu UI. The menu is a treat of sorts, revealing that the mapping interface can be tweaked with built-in themes that enhance the daytime/nighttime experiences. the entire theme can also be adjusted, with relevant and zany choices like breast cancer awareness pink or multicolored halloween. These “little” customization opportunities go a long way to increasing the usability of the product. Other settings give a glimpse as to other features contained in the app: language and gender choices for voice, ability to show local speed limits and proclaim warnings based on such, units of measure, sharing tools and more.

With regards to the app in action, the 3D rendering works well, and the overall smooth design of the menu spills co4over into the navigation. A search easily pulls up the location, and then the trip begins, with a screen that auto adjusts to he ime of day. There’s more good stuff here; using touch, it’s possible to tweak the information displayed (like speed and ETA) on the screen. 2D maps can be toggled here as well; the same handy menu pulls up trip summary, alternate routes, detours, points of interest and even walking directions. There is a lot of potentially useful information that can accessed on the fly.

In addition to searching (which works with Android voice dictation) one can input locations by coordinates, pre-entered “Places” and by the devices address book/contact list, which CoPilot interfaces with. The app allows for total trip control; it’s possible to plan by type of vehicle (car? Bicycle? Feet?) and avoid toll roads or to choose either the fastest or shortest route available. The app also offers a cloud feature for backup, and a year of free traffic monitoring service ActiveTraffic.

My biggest gripe with the app admittedly runs counter to my “complete mobility” rallying cry: I would love a web interface. A lot of times, for my needs, it is great to be able to input an address found while surfing on a laptop. Some folks might balk at the price when weighed against other options, especially since other vendors are getting into the offline side of things as well.

But for a full-fledged mobile option that packs in plenty of functionality, CoPilot is tough to get around.

Or get around without.

MapQuest Review

MapQuest Review

Dec 13, 2012

Even before Google had its name appropriated as a verb, MapQuest accomplished the same thing. MapQuest opened up the door to so many road adventures, and I still have stacks of printouts. In the days of preceding standalone GPS units and mobile software, TripTiks and printouts were what the cool kids did.

With decades of cartographic experience under the belt, MapQuest is almost made to make mapping products, and MapQuest for Android looks to explore that premise.

The user interface was clean, and looked functional without being cramped. The opening map showed my location with GPS on. Graphically, the mapping portion retained a business-like feel that i would have expected from MapQuest, with pinch-to-zoom working admirably. The navigation looked crisp, with focus seemingly given more to touch functionality than loud looks. The program switched to landscape effortlessly. Clean arrows and distance icons accompanied the mapped route.

Off the bat, there were fixed buttons to search for staples like food, accommodations, gas, hospitals and miscellaneous entertainment on the concealable and sliding bottom dock. I found this to be pretty convenient; especially since looking stuff up through the dock while navigation was quite easy. The search functionality did work well, and when available, I could access business location and “go” to the location. The Action tab was also a nice idea; it gave me access to a menu that allowed me to list written directions or edit the route on the fly. The voice used was faintly human, and it did an adequate job of communicating street names concisely. I especially liked the map touching functionality, whereby I was able to touch a point on the map and generate a route to it. I also found that the app re-routed pretty well as well.

Option-wise, the developer adds in toggles for satellite and nighttime views, giving the app a bit more versatility in different situations. It also boasts the ability to show real-time traffic, traffic cams and store map tiles locally.

I would have liked a more vibrant day view, and more options off the initial data entry or search. Giving multiple choices of navigation can be a positive, especially in places the driver is familiar with.

All in all, MapQuest is a great online option… good enough to pay for, in my opinion. The price makes it that more appealing, and it does compare favorably with the Android platform heavyweights.

TomTom Android Review

TomTom Android Review

Dec 11, 2012

Frankly, navigation applications are not entirely scarce on Android, as there are quite a lot of options for people interested in convergence. What is a little less common, and invariably much coveted are offline solutions.

This is where industry heavyweight TomTom looks to fill in the blanks. TomTom USA for Android is a solution that works online as well as offline with downloadable maps. Thus, the user is not held to ransom by finicky data connections.

As expected, the download was fairly large, and the app warned me of such.

TomTom comes with a packed feature set. Aside from the expected voice directions, it also had multi-point travel functionality, and the ability to work when my device was in portrait or landscape. For basic navigation, I was presented with a few travel options: I could choose a bike option, walking, an “eco” route (one that cut down on stop and go), or I could choose to drive with the shortest or quickest route.

There were several other customization options as well; I found plenty of built-in themes for both daytime and nighttime navigation. I could also change the type of voice. A lot of care seemed to be ascribed to making the user experience as nice as possible. For every generated route, I was able to look at the map and written directions, as well as a demo of the route. I could also get an alternate route, avoid portions of the upcoming route and even create an off-route waypoint. This waypoint could be an address, a recent destination or a point of interest. I also was a fan of the lane guidance and the way the app automatically re-routed me when it determined I went off grid. It worked quite well without signal.

One important piece for me was the fact that TomTom worked well in the background, even with music playing. It worked with my contacts, and the app also offered free lifetime updates, which is a biggie. Updated traffic was an extra in-app purchase. Now, considering the cost of the app, some folks may balk at the extra cost associated with getting traffic warnings. I was not able to to get TomTom to pop up as an option when invoking navigation from a Google search, and I was not able to figure out how to use or generate coordinates, which is something that I actually use often. This is something that is good to have in a pinch, and I would have expected this in this app.

Still, for folks looking for an offline option that is backed by good reputation, TomTom might fill the void.