Ever Knocked Down the Wrong House Thanks to Google Maps?

We’ve all used Google maps and then had to guess the last few metres as the marker shows us the wrong location. It’s always a pain but, at least, it wasn’t responsible for knocking down your house. That’s correct, the wrong house was demolished thanks to the google maps marker showing the incorrect house. Whoops.

The address in question is 7601 Calypso Dr., which Google Maps also lists as 7601 Cousteau Dr. only the truth is that the second address is actually a block away. Cousteau Dr. was the address that should have been demolished after it was damaged by a tornado only things didn’t go exactly to plan.

The original Google Maps incorrectly pointing to the wrong address

Lindsey Diaz is the owner of one of the houses (the torn down building was, in fact, a duplex owned by two people) on Calypso Drive that was “mistakenly” taken down, with an employee for Billy L. Nabors Demolition going so far as to send her a screenshot of what Google Maps displays. No apology has been issued yet with the company “investigating” the situation, a mistake they rectified when they went to the next block and tore down the correct house.

The duplex that was torn down was in fact still structurally sound and the owners of the property had filed paperwork to start repairs on the property. I guess that whole in the ceiling can now wait as they wait to see how much support they get in rebuilding their homes. It should be noted that Google now shows the correct location for the building, sadly just a little too late to help the demolition team.

Ride-Sharing to be Expanded in Google Maps

With the rise of businesses like Uber, ride-sharing seems to be the one of the major ways to get around, combining the convenience of a taxi with the ease of use provided by an app. Google added Uber integration to Maps a few years ago in select locations. Now, Google will be expanding the selection of ride-sharing services available via the Google Maps app to include five new partners from around the world, as well as adding a brand new tab for ride-sharing when plotting a journey alongside the standard ways of getting around such as car, taking public transportation, walking, or bicycling.

As well as the existing Uber integration, Google’s new partners will include 99Taxis in Brazil, Ola Cabs in India, Hailo in the UK and Spain, mytaxi in Germany and Spain, and Gett in the UK.

This is good news for both Uber and their rival firms, as they will be able to compete against each other from the level playing field of the same menu in Google apps. This will allow potential customers to choose the best service for them based on price and time-of-arrival, which will hopefully develop competition in order to get the best service for customers. Additionally, Maps will also allow users to distinguish between UberX, UberXL, and UberBlack services for an even greater service breakdown.

This integration of a number of ride services seems to be part of a move by Google to provide the definitive hub for transportation information. It is also a whole new battlefield for ride-sharing firms, who will no doubt seek more prominence on Google’s platform and it could be reasonable to see even more companies being available on Google Maps worldwide should the feature catch on.

Explore Google Maps As Link

When a game gets released there is normally a hype around, helped only by the extra content and materials that are released alongside it. From short videos or web series to limited edition events or releases, but rarely do you see external companies get involved but that’s what’s happened as Google has made it so you can explore Google Maps as Link, the brave adventurer.

The little hero is here to celebrate the release of the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on the Wii U in Europe and North America today. If playing as the young adventurer isn’t enough for you, then you can now drag the little adventurer anywhere in the world on Google Maps.

As a person who grew up saving the kingdom of Hyrule, fighting off Mario and stopping the moon from destroying the clock tower, being able to do little things like drag Link over the ocean is strangely rewarding.

You will be able to explore with Link till the 10th, the day the game will release in Japan, so for five days feel free to go on adventures but don’t forget to pick up your copy of the game to experience the real adventure.

Google Maps Reviewers to be Rewarded With 1TB Free Cloud Storage

Google has outlined a new rewards system for users of its Local Guides program. Regular reviewers will earn points for contributing to Google Maps, with redeemable rewards ranging from early access to Google products to 1TB of free cloud storage via Google drive. Users who reach the level 5 points threshold will even be invited to attend the 2016 Google Local Guides summit at the Google Campus.

Google is offering the following rewards:

  • Level 1 (0 – 4 points): Enter exclusive contests (think new Google devices!) in select countries. 
  • Level 2 (5 – 49 points): Get early access to new Google products and features. 
  • Level 3 (50 – 199 points): Show up in the Google Maps app with your official Local Guides badge. 
  • Level 4 (200 – 499 points): Receive a free 1 TB upgrade of your Drive storage, allowing you to keep all the stories, photos, and videos from your travels in one safe place. 
  • Level 5 (500+ points): The very top Local Guides will become eligible to apply to attend our inaugural summit in 2016, where you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.

Progress can be tracked via the ‘Contributions’ tab on the Google Maps for Android and iOS.

Offline Navigation Added to Google Maps

That frustrating moment as you’re about to depart, when for some reason your phone decides to drop it’s network connection. Suddenly you better hope you know where you’re going, because Google Maps will leave you high and dry as you desperately try to get it to give you a route. From today, no more.

A long time in the coming, from Google’s promise of the feature back in May, the popular map and route-finding software will now be full-featured even when offline. And while some may argue that Google Maps has had offline functionality for a long time, with the ability to save maps locally, this feature was severely limited, offering no route-finding or navigation. Essentially just a plain digital map. This new update to Google Maps fills in all the functional blanks that have been missing since. Searching, routing, turn-by-turn vocal navigation and even basic information on businesses will now be available on saved maps while offline.

In order to make use of these new features, you must first download the map data to your device. Maps allows you to download maps on three scales, country, county or city, or the option to download a specific area from the offline areas menu. After downloading the maps for an area, you’re good to go. Maps handles hot-swapping between the downloaded map and using the network connection behind the scenes, aiming to make the experience seamless as you travel in and out of signal. The only thing offline maps can’t do is live traffic, for obvious reasons.

Having suffered frustration due to the whims of my mobile network provider when trying to travel personally, I highly welcome this change. How do you feel, a long overdue must-have, or simply nice to have?

Google Makes it Easier for People to use Public Transport in Delhi

As the capital territory of India, Delhi is one of the busiest places in the country and also one of the hardest to navigate if you’re not familiar with its public transportation routes and schedules. However, Google has just made it a lot easier to use public transport in Delhi, as it has recently released the Delhi Public Transport app. This Android app was created by the Google Maps team and is currently in an “experimental” phase. It gathers public transportation data from Maps and other Google services, and it offers valuable information regarding Metro and bus timetables, routes, directions and schedules.

In order to make sure that it would be useful to as many people as possible, Google’s team designed the app to deliver information offline, and they also made sure that it would be quite small, 1MB to be precise. This way, even the owners of older smartphones can install the app and use it without too many issues. Many other cities in Asia are extremely difficult to navigate, but if Delhi’s Public Transport app proves to be a success, there’s a good chance that Google will focus its attention on other parts of the world as well.

Thank you Techcrunch for providing us with this information.

The Moto 360 Is Now $165 on Google Store

The Moto 360 has just dropped to $165 on Google’s store, it is the lowest that the watch has been so far. The next version of the watch is in the works so Motorola is most likely clearing stock in anticipation of the new model.

The Moto 360 is one of the best Android Wear smartwatches that you can currently get, and is certainly one of the most striking designs with it being one of the few with a circular face. The Moto 360 has a very nice inductive charging cradle, making charging super simple. The watch also has a built-in pedometer and heart rate monitor that works very well with Google Fit. From my own experience with the Moto 360 I found that the integration with Google Maps was great and would be very useful to someone who is biking or driving with the app on their phone. Alternatively if the Google Store runs out the watch has dropped to $179.99 at Best Buy as well as Amazon. Is this new price drop enough to get you to jump on it or will you be waiting for the new version of the watch to come out?

Thank you  Engadget for providing us with this information

Hack Puts Edward Snowden in the White House

It seems that Edward Snowden may have finally usurped President Obama and taken his place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A cheeky ‘hacker’ has added the business Edwards Snow Den – purportedly a snowboarding shop – to the grounds of the White House on Google Maps.

Edward Snowden has become notorious since leaking confidential NSA documents, gained through his defense contract employer, that revealed mass surveillance of citizens at home and abroad on a criminal scale, back in 2013. Since leaking the documents, Snowden has been in hiding in Russia – a country he was forced to reside in when his passport was cancelled en route to Cuba – ever since on political asylum for fear of prosecution.

The amusing gag was achieved by getting Edwards Snow Den listed as a verified business and then, once given the thumbs-up by Google, the business changed its address to place it within the White House. Although Edwards Snow Den has had its verified business status revoked by Google, its Google+ page is still active, but Google seem to be actively trying to remove the prank.

Marketing Land, who first spotted the anomaly, had confirmation from Google that the listing had been taken down, but it still appears on a Google Maps search. How long it will remain, however, is unknown, so if you want to see it live, head over there now.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Play Pacman on the Virtual Streets of Google Maps

Google starts out with April’s fools jokes early, well at least for us here in the Europe area. But it’s already the 1st in some places and Google started out with a cryptic tweet. Dots and fruits, this can only be Pacman.

And yes it is, and yes you can play Pacman in Google Maps for the time being. All you have to do is visit Maps on the web and click on the little Pacman icon at the bottom-left of the screen. Not all areas are suitable for the gaming environment and Maps will let you select a new area or chose one by random with the “I’m feeling lucky” algorithm. Then it will use the road grid to draw the level to play on.

You control your yellow hero with the keyboard, so off you go, go chase those ghosts around your local streets.

Thanks to TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Google Maps Will Now Show Cyclists the Flattest Route

I enjoy cycling, many of us do, it’s popularity has certainly increased since the last Olympic games. The only thing I dislike about cycling, apart from the abuse from drivers, is hills, they are a nightmare on a bike and if you’re someone like me who isn’t amazingly fit then you’ll hate them too. Running into a sudden steep incline can ruin the rest of the bike ride because you used all your energy on a hill. Annoying to say the least.

Google has come up with a very useful update for their Google Maps app on android where any hills will appear on your planned route! Amazingly helpful for hill haters like myself. As you can see from the picture below, the route plan now comes with a graph showing how the terrain levels differ throughout the route. If there is a hill the line will rise and if it drops then the line will slope, simple!

If you don’t like the default route Google offers you you can change it to suit your preferences. Make it as steep as possible, if you’re insane, or as flat as possible, it’s up to you and you’re levels of fitness and how hard you wan’t the cycle to be.

To get this update you need to download the new Google Maps apk file from the Play Store on any android device. Once it’s downloaded the new apk file will overwrite the current one and there you have it, your updated Google Maps. There is no word of when this update will land on IOS.

Thanks to Mashable for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Mashable.

London Is Now Viewable in 3D on Google Maps

The city of London is amazing, enormous and has lots of history, now it seems Google have taken all the pictures they need to accurately make a 3D map of it for Google Maps and Google Earth. People now using Maps or Earth can literally fly over the city skyline and see what it would be like to view to city from above, of course not everything is perfect, there are a few blurry rooftops here and there but give Google some credit, trying to seamlessly connect all the pictures together would take an age, so they have done a very good job with London.

Using the 3D feature is a piece of cake. Open up Google Earth, type London into the search bar. At this point, you can use the Rotate and Tilt buttons at your right to change your perspective and from that point it’s just a matter of zooming in. 

This isn’t the only city Google has made 3D, Chicago and Los Angeles have also been done, feel free to check them out!

Thanks to HotHardware for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of HotHardware.

Linux Heading to Open Source Cars, Releasing Automotive Grande Linux Distribution

Open source operating system Linux has apparently shifter its focus towards a new sphere, leaving the real of desktops, notebooks, and even smartphones, having targeting the automobile market. A new Linux distribution by the name of Automotive Grande Linux has reportedly been released this week, being dedicated towards cars in an attempt to bring a new open source solution to the technologically advanced era we live in.

It is said that AGL, in collaboration with and sponsored by the Linux Foundation, brings together a host of partners from the automotive industry, communications, computing hardware, academia, as well as other sectors. The first release has been stated to have launched on June the 30th, having to bring a solution for a wide range of products, from cars, to laptops, TVs and even smartphones. The distribution is said to be based on Tizen IVI and is available for free here.

The first AGL release is said to have support for a limited series of features, specifically designed for deployment in cars and other vehicles. The features consist of Home Screens, Dashboards, Google Maps, HVACs, Media Playback, News Readers in the shape of an app carousel, Audio Controls, Bluetooth Phone support and even Smart Device Link Integration. Participants in the AGL project and the Linux Foundation hope that this initiative will help future ‘connected’ cars run on open source software in order to deliver the next generation of entertainment, navigation and other similar tools for use inside vehicles.

“Openness and collaboration are key to accelerating the development of a common, standard automotive platform so the industry can more quickly achieve its vision of delivering the connected car,” said Dan Cauchy, General Manager of Automotive, The Linux Foundation.

The GM also added that the Linux Foundation expects AGL development to continue steadily after its first release, having to introduce “a number of additional capabilities and features in subsequent releases.”

Thank you The Var Guy for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Linux Foundation

Google Looking Into Acquiring Startup Company Skybox for $1 billion

Google is known for investing in different markets, having acquired companies such as Boston Dynamics and DeepMind. This time however, Google is aiming for the ‘skies’ so to put, with the rumors of acquiring startup company Skybox, a company specialising in high-definition satellite imagery.

The amount of money in question is quite impressive as well, having rumored to be at an estimated $1 billion. The parties have refused to make any comments, as is to be expected when a big acquisition such as this one is in order. Why Skybox and what is Google hoping to get out of this? The answer is simple.

Skybox, as previously mentioned, focuses on satellite imagery. It is different through the way of offering high quality imagery and video to its clients and the company also make their own satellites, software and offer pristine footage. A preview of what they currently offer can be seen in the video below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCrB1t8MncY[/youtube]

The reports also say that Skybox was one of the alternatives Google was looking into. It is said that the company giant had its eyes on another company called Planet Labs, raising the possibility of Google working on something big. Two of the possible reasons of acquiring Skybox is either to integrate it into Google Maps / Google Earth Enterprise or even use it for its Project Loon.

While Google Maps and Google Earth Enterprise sounds more plausible, since integrating Skybox’s imagery into the latter could skyrocket its services, it still raises the questions of whether the company giant is willing to spend $1 billion on just that. This is why Project Loon could be another candidate, since Skybox could be a nice addition to its recent acquisition for Project Loon, Titan Aerospace, to help track the balloons and their position. Whichever way it may be, we will just have to wait and see.

Thank you Android Authority for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of Android Authority

Google To Develop ‘Mobile Meter’ App

Although Google knows best how people use the internet,  it also wants to dig a little deeper and monitor the app usage as well. It appears that the company is developing a new mobile apps that compensate users if they allow their mobile behavior to be monitored. From what we know, the project is called “Mobile Meter” and uses iOS and Android apps that intelligently monitor app usage and web browsing habits and send the data back to Google.

Google confirmed the development of the new apps later on, which it says are part of its Screenwise market research project that began rolling out last year. The Mobile Meter apps will replace an older method that allowed panelists to participate, helping Google measure media consumption across all screens but with more accurate results on mobile. Both the Android and iOS apps will be submitted to their relevant app stores in the near future, although only panelists will be able to actually use them. The company states that while there isn’t an open call for volunteers right now, it recruits for panels on an ongoing basis and compensation varies based on the panels people participate in.

The company already passively collects data to improve its apps and resources. The Google Maps app for example, regularly feeds back location metrics to enhance the service. Since Google won’t comment, we don’t know exactly which app and web metrics it intends to track with Mobile Meter. However, it will presumably enable the company to evaluate the different habits of Android and iOS users, gaining an important insight into Apple’s ecosystem. Google will anonymize all of the information it collects to ensure the privacy of its panelists. Given Facebook and Google’s previous mistakes, where private information was made public, Google will need to be transparent over how the opt-in service uses the data it gathers.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Endgadget.

Google Web Traffic Accounts For 5% Of All Internet Traffic In The UK

Google is a large part of the internet, but really how large is it? According to The Telegraph, Google websites are over 5 percent of web traffic in the UK, in short 1 out of every 20 websites visited are Google-owned.

Google Chrome, Google’s web browser turned 5 years old a month ago. The web browser is available for Windows, MacOSX and Linux, as well as both Android and iOS. Though I was not able to find any numbers on how many people use Google Chrome opposed to other web browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer; I would assume that Google Chrome has the majority of users.

As for their search engine, there are a few other search engines. Personally I use Google for my searches, I like the format, it is simple to use, and I am usually able to find exactly what I am looking for in just a few seconds. Though some of you may use Yahoo or Bing instead of Google, Google is perhaps the most used.

Google owns many of the websites that we visit every day: Blogger, GoogleDrive, Google Play, Google+, Google Maps, Google.com, Gmail, YouTube, and Google.co.uk.

Google is in so many different parts of the electronics market that it would be hard for someone to not know who they are. They are perhaps even the largest electronics based company with a head count just shy of 45,000 employees. I can only assume that they will continue to grow as they acquire more businesses and come out with new products. Though it looks like they have terminated over 10,000 employees after their Motorola acquisition.

 

Do you use Google.com as your search engine, or you their other products, let us know in the comments below.

Thank you to The Telegraph  for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Dailymail

Google Street View Extends To…..The Galapagos Islands!?

If there’s one thing we’ve all learnt about Google by now, it is that they get absolutely everywhere. Their latest expedition extended Google “Street” view to the Galapagos Islands. No, it doesn’t have any streets but why not photograph it anyway? Google is on a mission to cover the whole world in street view and it is doing a pretty good job at it so far.

As the above image shows Google used its “Street View Trekker”, or backpack mounted Street View Cameras, to capture the beauty of the Galapagos islands. Google spent 10 days on the islands trekky to plenty of remote locations, hiking and even going into the sea to get some underwater pictures. I am sure it was a “really tough” trip for Google, having to spend 10 days in the Galapagos Islands “working” (more like on holiday…).

Unfortunately you’re going to have to wait a few months before the images are resized, sorted through, geotagged and uploaded to the Google Maps service to be viewed by you. Google has made a blog post about it if you are interested, so definitely check it out because it has some more pictures and some extra details.

Where do you think Google Street View should head off to next? Personally I think North Korea would make a great expedition!

Image Credit Google