Google Maps Stickers for everything

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Google Maps Stickers to help you customize your star-filled map

Google Maps got an update today to help you make your map more fun.  One of the things you may have seen is that for those who like bookmarks, the maps can become quite full, but not distinct. Google Maps Stickers can help you make your map special and help you to keep an eye on unique points of interest.

Google, it appears, wants you be able to pin your home and office locations, but if you so choose, maybe pin all your stars. Google Maps stickers are nothing short of fun and games on your phone.

As Google Maps is constantly improving its interface, things like “Your Timeline” and “Your Labels” will come into view with more pizzazz.  No longer will you see a mass of stars adorning the map, but familiar buildings and images that let you know with a simple visual, where home, work, the gym, or Mom’s house can be found.

It is likely that you’ve already downloaded the latest Google Maps update, but if not check out the Play Store and get your update to fun, today.

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Source: Google Maps Blog

Lyft Adds Google Waze for Better Navigation

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To Improve Pickups, Lyft Adds Google Waze

Lyft and Uber have both used some sort of maps app to help drivers find the route from point to point, but when Lyft adds Google Waze to the picture, it offers a whole new scope possibilities.  The expectation of which is that Google Waze will assist drivers in getting customers to their destinations faster, that merely knowing the route.

Who knows what actually goes on behind closed doors? Google appeared to be moving into the Ride-Sharing space with a lesser-known project in Israel (where Waze is) called “RideWith“.  But maybe it became apparent that Lyft was a natural partner already doing all that the app would accomplish.  Or maybe it’s the huge deal that GM for half-a-billion dollars, that spurred Google’s attempts to overrun the market with a competitive app.

In either case, when a company that is always looking for the next big thing to conquer in tech; it is only natural that they would look to companies that may already have begun the work.

Although the competition is tight and with Ubers’ latest to drop prices any more, you might wonder how Lyft could keep up.  But they are recognizing that the model for RideSharing is there and the only way to overcome the current major competitor is to do it with pizazz. Taking orders from Google and GM, only good can come of this?

Here’s to hopin’ that Google and GM and the founders of Lyft can come to a solid agreement that benefits everyone regardless as to whether they are a patron or guest.

The Verge

Google Maps: Driving Mode

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Driving Mode is new in Google Maps: Waze anyone?

An update just posted today for Google Maps.  This new update includes a feature called Driving Mode.  You probably have already used Google Maps app to navigate the world at some point, but you have never had a “driving mode” until now.

Back in July of 2013 Google acquired Waze; a nifty little navigation app that also provided useful user info.  Waze would not merely route you to your destination, it would also rely on user input to help navigate spontaneous traffic.  Whereas Apple Maps, Google Maps, Mapquest, or other map applications can route you to your destination (usually), Waze would route you and help you to avoid traffic or hazards.

Google Maps with Driving Mode now does what Waze did (although there still isn’t any user input). There is a “sort-of” user input in the new feature addition, in that your habits of driving will be included in the update data.  There might be more than one way for you to get to work, but you tend to prefer the freeway, Google Maps will take this into consideration when offering directions.

One very nice feature of the update is to give you the option of toning down the aggressive navigation announcements.  Google has yet to offer more than a binary option (either on or off), but at least there is an option.  Waze users might not care as much about these, Google Maps does not currently offer more than once Navigation voice, as in Waze.

Google will allow you to replace the Waze icon on your home screen with a little shortcut that will take you directly into the app Driving Mode section.  It will likely be ready for you as well, offering immediate driving directions to your next most likely destination (like work or home).

It was already possible to tilt the map and allow Google Maps to track you around, but now, like Waze you will be able to avoid sticky road situations, like accidents, and the occasional local sporting event

Google PacMan (April Fools Day)

 

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April Fools Day – Google PacMan

Just when you thought you’d make it through the end of March with out incident, April Fools Day happens.  Google has always contributed to this odd holiday and this year is no different.  The latest prank / joke is where Google Maps becomes a tribute to PacMan.

 How to Play

Go to Google Maps (http://maps.google.com) and mouse-over the Pacman image in the lower left-hand corner of the frame.  Once you’re ready, click this and the map will change to a Pacman layout with Ghosts on one side and Pacman on the other. Remember to save up those larger dots for when you’re either in trouble or got the Ghosts cornered.  The controls are pretty much the same, just Up, Down, Left, Right using the arrow keys .

Google Pacman is no less fun that the original and if anything a bit more interesting because of the sometimes bizarre layout of roads.  Per the image, I chose Lombard Street in San Francisco, but then realized that SF Airport might be a bit more fun.  Either way, you may spend more hours playing this game than working, so maybe just once more.

Update: For a real challenge position the map over Vatican City or San Francisco Airport.

 

Google Skybox for Good

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Skybox for Good

Google is opening up their satellite imagery to non-profit companies.  It’s called the  Skybox for Good program and it is already taking applications.  That is to say that non-profit companies can apply for imagery.

The program will begin with a few close partners and expand from there out to everyone.  Fortunately, the data is all licensed under Creative Commons for public use.

Google is no stranger to pushing forward into the higher ideal and this example is a prime for it.  The idea behind this move is to offer a helping-hand to budding or low income groups that need overhead views of remote land locations.  It can also be used to observe changes over time.  Check out the map listing site for current projects (map)

One example is an organization called “Save the Elephants” out of Kenya is using the maps to watch poaching and the ivory trade.

Google’s commitment to helping non-profits may lead to painting the idea of world mapping in a positive light.