Google has announced it has added panoramic imagery of 1001 locations in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada and the US to Street View. Highlights include the Fullerton Heritage Promenade in Singapore, the canals in Copenhagen, the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida in Latin America, the Vermont State House in the US, and the Roy Thomson Hall in Canada.
Interested in exploring other countries through Google Street View? Learn more on the Google blog here.
Google has added Street View imagery of Central Park and the 9/11 Memorial in New York to Google Maps. The panoramic images of the North and South pools include the engraved names of the victims of 9/11.
The Central Park imagery can be used to explore the many paths inside the park and see famous and little-known areas. Learn more on the Google Maps blog here.
Google has announced it will update its Maps app for Android and iOS sometime this summer. There will also be new versions of the apps that are optimised for Android tablets and iPads.
The updated apps will add smarter venue search where a search for “pizza” in San Fransisco will list local pizza places with friends’ ratings. The venue search uses data from Zagat to add badges to the best restaurants.
Instead of being displayed as a list, search results are displayed so they can be browsed by swiping. There is also a new dynamic rerouting feature that can change the route in real-time using traffic and accident information.
The Google Maps website will also be updated to be vector-based. It will have a cleaner interface that uses labels instead of pins and personalises maps based on the user’s history so they can navigate via known landmarks. The website will also have a new transit schedule viewer and user-submitted photo spheres of locations. It will also allow users to zoom out all the way to the Milky Way and see Earth’s clouds in real time.
Microsoft has updated its Windows 8 Bing apps. The Bing News app now has the option to add custom RSS feeds to the top stories section and pin them to the Start screen. Custom feeds will be displayed in a similar way to the curated ones, but unoptimised feeds display in a web browser.
The Bing Finance app adds a new Tools section with a mortgage calculator, retirement planner, currency converter and other savings calculators. The Bing Travel and Sports apps have also been updated to fix some bugs.
The Bing Maps app has also been updated. It has an improved local search with categories including restaurants, bars, coffee, hotels, banks, films, museums, hospitals and parking. There is also new options to track location and switch to birds-eye view automatically.
Using Windows 8 and haven’t updated these apps yet? Click the Store app on the Start screen and then click the Updates link in the top-right corner to view and install the updates.
It has become standard on touch devices to use two fingers to pinch and zoom in map applications like Google Maps, but this requires holding the device with one hand and pinching and zooming with the other.
It is also possible to zoom with a single finger. While holding an iOS or Android device with Google Maps, double-tap the screen with a thumb and hold it down on the second tap, then move it up and down to zoom.
Google has launched a beta of Maps Engine Lite, a subset of Maps Engine that allows users to create custom maps to visualise data by uploading a small spreadsheet with locations. Up to three different data sets can be compared, but for non-business purposely only.
These custom maps can add multiple layers over Google’s satellite and terrain maps and there are over 150 different icons that can be used to mark specific places. It is also possible to manually draw lines, mark specific areas and set place markers.
Interested in Google Maps Engine Lite? Learn more here.
In related news, Google Maps has added live transit information for 800 cities across more than 25 countries around the world. This information includes pickup locations, departure times, estimated travel times and fare amounts.
Apple has purchased WiFiSLAM for $20 million. WiFiSLAM allows a smartphone to pinpoint its location in real-time with 2.5-metre accuracy using only ambient Wi-Fi signals that are already present in buildings.
Their technology will likely be incorporated into Apple Maps to add indoor maps that compete with the crowdsourced ones in Google Maps.