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  1. Google has announced that in order to overcome the challenges of keeping an ever-changing map up to date, Google Maps will now use AI and imagery so you always see the latest information. Throughout a new blog post, Google outlined a number of enhancements that AI is making to their Google Maps service, including how it might just make worrying about a business’ hours a thing of the past. Currently, the hours displayed under a business in Google Maps can be frustratingly inaccurate, as it relies on the owner of the business or ‘local guides’ to suggest and update the correct hours in a process that is surprisingly easy yet rarely ever done. Thankfully this annoyance may be a concern of the past, as in the blog post, Google explained how they will now be utilizing machine learning to detect if a business’ hours are likely wrong before instantly updating them with AI-generated predictions. According to the blog post, through the use of this machine learning and the AI-generated predictions, Google will be able to “update the hours for over 20 million businesses around the globe in the next six months.” Additionally, Google is also “experimenting” with other uses for AI and imagery within Google Maps, such as using it to give accurate and up-to-date speed limit information for roads in your town. Google is using AI to make Google Maps more accurate
  2. Dramatically more detailed maps are coming to the navigation mode. Look at all those details! Maps will show traffic lights, stop signs, and building outlines in navigation mode. Google It might be hard to believe, but there are still some incredibly useful features that can be added to Google Maps. The latest addition brings traffic-light and stop-sign icons to navigation mode. Traffic lights have appeared in Google Maps in some areas since 2020. Not everyone had access to them, though, and they never seemed to show up while navigating. Now, lights and stop signs will appear on everyone's routes while navigating. That should give users a better feel for how their trip will go and when they should turn. Google says many more normal map details will soon be visible in the navigation view, including building outlines and areas of interest. While a ton of details pop up on the regular map, navigation mode previously stripped out most of them, and the spaces between roads have usually been blank. For cities with a high level of Google Maps details, you'll also start to see the specific shape and width of a road, including medians and islands. Google says, "The new navigation map starts rolling out to select countries in the coming weeks on Android, iOS, Android Auto, and CarPlay." The features are apparently rolling out in stages, too. Right now, I'm seeing lights and stop signs but no building details. Maps will also start showing estimated toll prices for your entire trip when you start navigating somewhere. Google says it is pulling in "trusted information from local tolling authorities" and will "look at factors like the cost of using a toll pass or other payment methods, what the day of the week it is, along with how much the toll is expected to cost at the specific time you’ll be crossing it." Toll-free routes are also still an option. Google says, "You’ll start seeing toll prices on Android and iOS this month for nearly 2,000 toll roads in the US, India, Japan, and Indonesia—with more countries coming soon." Listing image by Getty Images / SOPA Images / Contributor Google Maps brings traffic-light and stop-sign icons to navigation
  3. See how much a toll will cost on your route Google is announcing a handful of updates to Google Maps, including one that will show toll prices before you start navigating to where you want to go. “We look at factors like the cost of using a toll pass or other payment methods, what the day of the week it is, along with how much the toll is expected to cost at the specific time you’ll be crossing it,” Google said in a blog post. If a toll-free route is available, that will be shown as an option as well. The feature will begin rolling out on Android and iOS for “nearly 2,000” toll roads in the US, India, Indonesia, and Japan this month. The feature will come to more countries “soon.” Google is also adding more detail to its navigation maps. “You’ll soon see traffic lights and stop signs along your route, along with enhanced details like building outlines and areas of interest,” the company says. In “select cities,” there will be additional added detail like “the shape and width of a road, including medians and islands.” These improved maps will begin rolling out in the “coming weeks” on Android, Android Auto, iOS, and Apple’s CarPlay software. You’ll soon be able to see traffic lights and stop signs while navigating. Image: Google Google Maps users on Apple devices are getting some targeted updates as well. There will be a new widget for the iOS app that lets you access trips pinned to the Go tab, and it will be available in the coming weeks. The Google Maps Apple Watch app will also let you get directions to any of your Google Maps shortcuts — places like Home and Work — just by tapping the shortcut on your watch. (Previously, you needed to start those trips from the iOS app.) This feature will roll out starting in “a few weeks.” Start a trip home right from your watch. Image: Google Google Maps will start estimating tolls and display more details to help you find your way
  4. Google Maps is rolling out incredibly accurate street-level details in these 4 cities Crosswalks, pedestrian islands, park pathways, and more One of my small pet peeves when using Google Maps in a new city or country is the lack of crosswalk details for walking directions. The app might tell me it takes twenty minutes to go from one point to another, but it could realistically be a lot more than that when you factor in crosswalks, especially if those aren't exactly on my path but require a little detour. Google is now starting to remedy that by rolling out super accurate street details in four major cities, which include crosswalks, pedestrian islands, and more. The change was announced last year in August, but we only got a glimpse of it in action in December. Now, it seems that the rollout is reaching more users, even if it's still not live for all. We also know the four cities where these details will be available: London, UK (Central London) New York City, USA San Francisco, USA Tokyo, Japan (Central Tokyo) To check it out, visit one of these cities on your phone and zoom in enough to get to street level. Once there, and if the feature is live for you, you'll notice several improvements. Road widths, rounded corners, and even roadside vegetations will be accurately depicted. Crosswalks, medians, and pedestrian islands will be pointed out, so you know exactly where to cross to street. And parks will show the real width of pathways in dark green as well as any stairs in grey, providing better accessibility info for anyone in a wheelchair or with a stroller. We've taken a few comparative screenshots from the four cities below, to show you what you can expect. Tokyo Left: Tokyo intersection before. Right: Now with crosswalks. London Left: London roads and park before. Right: Crosswalks, pedestrian islands, and roadside vegetation. New York Left: Central Park before. Right: Notice the more realistic pathways (dark green) and stairs (grey). San Francisco Left: Major intersection in San Francisco before. Right: Accurate road width and curves, crosswalks, pedestrian islands. These street-level details are rolling out as a server-side update, regardless of Maps app version and beta status. Even on the same device, you may notice that they show up when you're logged in with one account, but revert when you switch to another. Maps - Navigate & Explore Developer: Google LLC Price: Free Source: Google Source: Google Maps is rolling out incredibly accurate street-level details in these 4 cities
  5. Hey Google, where can I get vaccinated? — Google Maps will soon show COVID vaccine locations Vaccine site listings will show access requirements and appointment info. Enlarge / Vaccine info in Google search. Google The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine means a ton of people are soon going to be looking for vaccination sites. As usual, Google wants to be at the center of getting people where they're going, and in a new blog post Google says it will start loading Search and Maps with information on vaccination sites. "In the coming weeks," the company writes, "COVID-19 vaccination locations will be available in Google Search and Maps, starting with Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, with more states and countries to come." Soon you'll be able to search "COVID vaccine" and get location results showing access requirements, appointment information, and if a site has a drive-through. Google says it is partnering with the Boston Children's Hospital's VaccineFinder.org, government agencies, and retail pharmacies for the data. Elsewhere in the Google Empire, the company says it will open up various Google facilities as vaccine sites. To help with vaccination efforts, starting in the United States, we’ll make select Google facilities—such as buildings, parking lots and open spaces—available as needed. These sites will be open to anyone eligible for the vaccine based on state and local guidelines. We’ll start by partnering with health care provider One Medical and public health authorities to open sites in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in California; Kirkland, Washington; and New York City, with plans to expand nationally. We’re working with local officials to determine when sites can open based on local vaccine availability. Google also says it plans on launching a "Get the Facts" campaign across its services, probably to counter the conspiracy theories the company is often caught promoting via the YouTube algorithm. The post says the initiative will run across Google and YouTube to "get authoritative information out to the public about vaccines." Google Maps will soon show COVID vaccine locations
  6. Google Maps on Android Automotive gets better at planning EV charging stops The two cars that Android Automotive currently powers are both electric. Ahead of Google’s dashboard experience coming to more vehicles, the built-in Google Maps app is improving how you find EV charging stations. Charging opportunities are an important consideration when planning trips given the range of current electric cars and the availability of stations being heavily dependent on where you’re traveling. On shorter trips, Maps will let you select from a list of available chargers, with Google noting speed and network. For example, you can see nearby destinations to multitask while your vehicle tops-up. For trips that require two or more recharge stops, Google will specify stations and charging levels to “minimize the total duration of the trip.” The company touts new routing algorithms that it developed based on graph theory that take into account both driving and charging time. It needed to create a solution that works across the many vehicles that will soon get Automotive. Taking into consideration the various characteristics of each EV (such as the weight, maximum battery level, plug type, etc.) the algorithm identifies which of the edges [route] are feasible for the EV under consideration and which are not. During this process, Google is also taking into account battery consumption, with Maps maintaining detailed road information (length, elevation, and slope). To the end user, this routing takes less than 10 seconds. The last new feature today will show what payment methods are accepted at stations in 12 European countries. Improvements to Google Maps EV charging stops on Android Automotive are rolling out now. Source: Google Maps on Android Automotive gets better at planning EV charging stops
  7. Google Maps ‘2020 Timeline update’ recaps your travels trends One of the more useful features made possible by enabling Location History on Android is the Google Maps Timeline. In addition to a monthly recap, Google Maps is sending out a “2020 Timeline update” that is obviously impacted by the last 12 months, but still provides useful local stats. COVID-19 changed the world’s travels in 2020, and how many places people were able to visit. If you were able to travel this year, you can see some of the places you’ve been with the help of this automated Timeline email. Before providing a “Your visits in 2020” summary, Google first acknowledges the ongoing situation. There’s then a map showing where you traveled with a “Cities” and “Places” count that notes how many are new. The Google Maps 2020 recap, compared to last year, features a “trends” section. It breaks down the types of places — Shopping, Food & drink, etc. — visited every month in cumulative hours. There’s also a look at how many miles you walked and drove. Next up are highlights of “Cities visited” and “Places visited,” with locations getting a cover image and Google identifying whether they were new. This recap ends with Google Maps noting the total distance (in miles) you traveled for 2020 and “Your all times data.” While we’re already into the new year, Google waits a week or two to send this email out. So far, I’ve only received it on one account, and it should finish rolling out in the coming days. The full Maps Timeline is available on the web and mobile apps (profile avatar > Your Timeline), while it recently came to Google Photos. Source: Google Maps ‘2020 Timeline update’ recaps your travels trends
  8. You can now pay for parking directly from the Google Maps app in more cities While we’re all traveling a lot less nowadays, public parking is still a part of many people’s daily lives. Today, Google Maps is launching a new feature to make parking a bit easier, and a bit safer, too. Announced on The Keyword, Google Maps is adding support for parking payments, thanks to direct integration with Passport and ParkMobile, two parking solutions providers. As seen below, you’ll be able to tap “Pay for Parking” directly from the Maps app, with Google Pay handling the spot number, time limits, and actual payment for your time parked. Your results may, of course, vary based on location, but Google says that this feature is rolling out in over 400 US cities including the likes of NYC, Boston, Cincinnati, Houston, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, too. The feature starts rolling out widely today. Google previously debuted this feature in Austin, Texas. Thanks to an integration with parking solutions providers Passport and ParkMobile, you can now easily pay your meter right from driving navigation in Maps, and avoid touching the meter altogether. Simply tap on the “Pay for Parking” button that appears as you near your destination. Then enter your meter number, the amount of time you want to park for, and tap “Pay.” Need to add more time to your meter? Easily extend your parking session with just a few taps. Google also says that it’s expanding the ability to pay for public transit fares to over 80 new agencies around the world. That means you’ll be able to see how you can pay before even stepping onto a method of public transit, as well as being able to directly buy transit credit through Maps in select locations, such as San Francisco. Google says that this expansion will take place on Android over “the coming weeks.” Source: You can now pay for parking directly from the Google Maps app in more cities
  9. Google Maps will soon let you draw on a map to fix it Missing road? You can plot it yourself. Image: Google If you’ve ever been frustrated by a road simply not existing on Google Maps, the company’s now making it easier than ever to add it. Google will be updating its map editing experience to allow users to add missing roads and realign, rename or delete incorrect ones. It calls the experience “drawing,” but it’s closer to using the line tool in Microsoft Paint. The updated tool should be “rolling out over the coming months in more than 80 countries,” according to a blog post. Currently, if you try to add a missing road, you can only drop a pin where the road should be and type in the road’s name to submit that information to Google. The new tool should make it easier to not only add missing roads, but to make corrections such as fixing a road’s name or its direction (for example, if the road is one-way but Google Maps says it isn’t). The new map editor lets users visually add in missing roads. GIF: Google The current correction screen is more rudimentary. Of course, Google will still be vetting your corrections to make sure they’re accurate. After you submit a change with the new tool, you’ll see a screen where Google warns that it doesn’t want a bike path to be marked as a road, or for someone to make a road intended to hurt people, for example. That screen also says that it’ll take about seven days for the company to review your submission. Google Maps will also be getting a feature called “photo updates” which will let you share small details about a place without having to leave a full review. In the app, you’ll be able add images of a location as well as see recent photos with text snippets others have submitted. Updates should help surface the most recent information about a location. Image: Google Google Maps will soon let you draw on a map to fix it
  10. Google Maps gets a new icon and more tabs to celebrate 15th anniversary 15 years of trusting Google for directions Google Maps is turning 15 years old, and to celebrate, Google is rolling out a new icon for the service along with a slightly redesigned app and a couple of new features. The biggest change here might be the icon itself — gone is the classic map intersection icon in favor of a new Google-hued pin on a white background, which more closely matches Google’s other application branding. The Google Maps app itself is also getting a slight change, with two added tabs at the bottom: the update adds “contribute” and “updates” tabs, and replaces the “for you” tab with a more focused “saved” tab. The motivation behind the redesign is rooted in the more recent functionality that Google has added to Maps, like the increased focus on user-submitted content and the ability to follow other users. With the new tabs, more of those features are put front and center for users instead of having them buried deep in a side menu. Google is also announcing a couple new features to Maps, although they won’t arrive until sometime in March. The first is increased crowdsourced information for public transit. Before, Google Maps could only tell you whether a train or bus was expected to be crowded, but the new update allows users to submit other details like temperature, wheelchair accessibility, or whether there’s a women-only carriage or onboard security. The other update is coming to Google’s augmented-reality Live View feature, which is getting a more lightweight mode that will simply show the location of your destination without launching into the full-fledged 3D turn-by-turn navigation mode that’s currently available. The new icon and tab interface will roll out today on both iOS and Android devices; the new transit information and Live View mode will arrive in a future update sometime next month. Source: Google Maps gets a new icon and more tabs to celebrate 15th anniversary (The Verge)
  11. Google Maps introduces incognito mode for iOS; bulk delete for Android coming in January In a blog post, Google has announced that iOS users will be getting an incognito mode for the Google Maps app, a feature made available to Android users in October. As per the announcement, the update is rolling out to iOS users today. Google says: Incognito mode on iOS works the same way it does on Android. While in Incognito mode, the places you search for or navigate to won’t be saved to your Google Account and you won’t see personalized features within Maps, like restaurant recommendations based on dining spots you’ve been to previously. Using Incognito mode on your phone will not update your Location History, so the places you go won’t be saved to your Timeline. Google will also be adding a bulk delete tool for its Android app, allowing users to delete multiple places from their timeline and location history all at once. Users may either delete all their location history or a selected part of their timeline by choosing a date range. The bulk delete tool for the Android app will be rolling out next year. In the meantime, users may use the incognito mode if they want to temporarily stop Google Maps from logging their location history. Source: Google Maps introduces incognito mode for iOS; bulk delete for Android coming in January (Neowin)
  12. Except where it's illegal, like France and Germany. After running limited tests in the US and elsewhere, Google Maps is rolling out speed limit warnings and both fixed and mobile radar locations in over 40 countries, Google has confirmed to TechCrunch. The features are borrowed from Google-owned Waze and will appear in the iOS and Android Maps. The speed limit signs are located in the bottom corner of Maps and the radar and photo radar traps appear as icons on the virtual roads. The features are available in Australia, Brazil, US, Canada, UK, India, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe, Google said. On Reddit, users in France, Switzerland and Germany noted that they aren't seeing the radar trap locations, likely because such features are illegal in those countries. In France, police are allowed to check your mobile phone for illegal apps and can levy steep fines and even confiscate your vehicle if they find them. While both iOS and Android users can benefit from the new features, only Android users can report fixed photo radar and mobile radar location, for now. Google borrowed the features from Waze, and uses official sources and driver feedback, according to TechCrunch. Waze, however, has a richer feature set. It also warns of accidents, red light cameras, and other hazards. Google Maps is widely used despite being a pretty bare-bones navigation app -- it still doesn't show your vehicle's speed, for instance. So speed limit and radar trap warnings are big changes that are long overdue. More at [ TechCrunch ] Source
  13. Google is asking Google Maps users to explicitly opt in to having their location data used to improve the Google Maps service, including to establish real-time traffic conditions and detect disruptions. The consent request is being offered via a pop-up in the app and can be seen below: It reads: How navigation data makes Maps better Google uses your and other people’s navigation data to improve Maps for everyone. As you navigate, Google collects details, such as GPS location and the route you took. This data may be used to make information, including real-time traffic conditions and disruptions, visible to others and help them find the fastest route. These updates to the map won’t be associated with your Google Account or device. Notably however if you do not consent by pressing Start your navigation is limited to a static list of directions, similar to mapping apps in 2001. Additionally, users are not told in the pop-up that it is a consent request, and the consequence of refusing is not explained. The consent request is expected to start rolling out on Monday on both iOS and Android. via 9to5Google From tomorrow, Google Maps will limit navigation features if you don’t agree to share your live location data
  14. Google today announced a new update to Google Maps iOS app which brings three new features. First, Google Maps on iOS now supports dark mode. This feature will be rolling out in the coming weeks and you can turn it on by going to Settings > Dark mode > On. Second, Google Maps iOS now has a new nearby traffic widget which will allow you to have a glance exactly what traffic is like from your home screen. With the new Google Maps search widget, you can search for your favorite places or navigate to frequent destinations with just a quick tap. Here’s how you can enable these widgets: From your home screen, touch and hold a widget or an empty area until your apps jiggle. In the upper-left corner, tap the Add button. Search for and tap the Google Maps app. Swipe to select a widget, then tap Add Widget. Tap Done. Third, you can now share your real-time location via iMessage. Tap on the new Google Maps button in iMessage and your location will be shared for one hour by default, with the option to extend up to three days. To end your share, you can tap the “stop” button on the thumbnail. Source: Google Google Maps for iOS gets three new features including the dark mode
  15. Google Maps gets a bunch of new features and improvements Google today announced new updates for Google Maps at its ongoing I/O developer conference. The first of the improvements is mainly aimed at reducing hard-braking incidents while driving. Google Maps will use AI to find routes that are less likely to include areas where hard-braking can occur thereby reducing chances of an accident. Google says this update has the potential to eliminate 100 million hard-braking events in routes driven with Google Maps each year. Next up are enhancements to Live View. The feature is now available directly inside the Maps app and provides important information about establishments around a user, such as how busy they are, recent reviews, and relevant photos. It also includes "helpful street signs" for complex intersections that point users to their places of interest. The detailed street maps feature introduced last year uses AI to display where sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian islands are, along with the shape and width of a road to scale. This is especially useful when navigating on foot or for those with accessibility needs. The company today announced that the feature will be rolling out to 50 new cities by the end of this year, including Berlin, São Paulo, Seattle, and Singapore. Live busyness information - a feature that helps users ascertain if a select place of interest is busy or crowded - now shows the relative "busyness" of an entire area by selectively highlighting a neighborhood or part of town. The firm adds that this information will help users gauge how busy an area is, allowing them to save time or stay socially distanced during the pandemic. Lastly, Google Maps will now tailor its information based on your usage patterns and history, and show only the most relevant places based on time of the day and whether or not you’re traveling. For example, if you regularly open the app early in the morning, it will show you restaurants serving breakfast at that hour, rather than all available places around you. All of these features will roll out gradually to Android and iOS devices globally. Source: Google Maps gets a bunch of new features and improvements
  16. Google Maps is flooded with 'millions' of fake business listings A new WSJ report estimates millions of Google listings contain false information. If you've ever tried to find a locksmith on Google in a pinch, this may not surprise you. Turns out Google Maps is filled with millions of scam operations that are impersonating real businesses, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. There are currently an estimated 11 million fake business listings on Google Maps, and new listings with false phone numbers or addresses arrive every month. Why would someone create a fake business listing? WSJ found out that there are a variety of motives behind such scams. Some businesses will create fake profiles for their competitors listing wrong phone numbers or addresses. Scam artists will also impersonate legitimate businesses and lure unsuspecting customers. One federal employee profiled in the story was conned by a fake repair service she found through a Google query. The con artist impersonated a company contractor, did a poor job and then charged the victim almost twice the amount of previous repairs. Google has responded to the claims in the WSJ report by taking down the identified fake listings. The company said it's added new safeguards for "high-risk categories" in its business listings. These include contractors and repair services, which customers normally only flock to in an emergency and have little time to research. This isn't the search engine's first response to deception on this service: Last year, Google took down more than 3 million false business profiles and disabled 150,000 accounts used to make them. Additionally, in a blog post, the company explained its internal systems flagged "more than 85 percent of these removals" and over 250,000 fake profiles were reported by users. "Every month Maps is used by more than a billion people around the world, and every day we and our users work as a community to improve the map for each other," Google Maps product director Ethan Russell wrote. "We know that a small minority will continue trying to scam others, so there will always be work to do and we're committed to keep doing better." Currently, creating a business listing on Google is free and relatively easy. Businesses can verify their listing's address and phone number via SMS message, a phone call or a postcard mailed to their listed location. Such a simple vetting process no doubt lead to Google Map's enormous growth -- currently 150 million businesses are on Google My Business, compared to 25 million businesses on Whitepages. But the ease of joining also opened the door for a wave of fraud, which now Google will have to deal with regularly. We reached out to Google for a comment on the matter, and we'll update this story when we hear back. Update 6/20/19 5:47PM ET: Google published a blog post shortly after out story went live with information about the fake Maps listings. Most of the numbers were already part of the WSJ report, but we've updated this post with additional details and a quote from product director Ethan Russell. You can read the full post/response here. Source
  17. Now called "Live View," it works on recent iPhone and Android devices. One of Google's coolest apps, by far, has yet to see the light of day for most users. I'm talking about Maps' live AR walking directions -- now known as Live View -- that shows you via a Pokémon-like visual overlay how to get to your destination. Now, Google has announced that it's rolling Live View out in much wider beta to modern Android and iOS phones equipped with ARCore or ARKit. Engadget had a chance to test the app in an early preview in February 2019, and we found it to be pretty cool but still a bit rough around the edges. At its I/O developer conference, Google unveiled a limited release of the app for Pixel devices owners and Local Guides. One of the key changes it made was to limit screen time while walking to make the experience safer. On top of Live View, Google Maps unveiled a Reservations tab in "Places" that lets see all your flight and hotel reservations in one spot whether you're on or offline. It's also got an updated version of the Timeline (on Android only) that makes it easy to find a spot you've visited in the past, provided you have Location History turned on. The new Live View is rolling out to Maps starting today, Google said. To try it out, you can search for a location to walk to, tap on the blue directions button and tapping the walking icon. At that point, if the feature is available on your device, you can select a new button called "Live View" near the bottom of the screen. You'll then be guided through the use of the feature. It looks like a huge improvement over the current (wonky) walking directions, just make sure to keep your wits about you while using it. Source
  18. Google Maps for Android redesigns search shortcuts by adding a carousel Last month, Google added more detailed voice guidance to Maps for visually impaired users. The firm also introduced a new capability to report road incidentson iPhones. Now, Google is testing a carousel of search shortcuts beneath the main search field, replacing the previous coloured grid which was accessible by swiping up the "Explore" sheet. Beneath the search bar, the dynamically updated eight buttons are supported by Material Theme icons depicting each category. These buttons appear in a personalized manner based upon user preferences; for example, a user who searches restaurants a lot may have the restaurant category appearing first. On tapping, a query is instantaneously performed whereas the last shortcut in the carousel - "More" - returns a comprehensive list of categories sorted by Food & Drink, Things to do, Shopping, and Services. Since many older devices do not have tall aspect rations, these new search shortcuts might seem jumbled on them but they are suitable for permanent display since, saving users from having to type in their queries. For now, this design is live across the globe on all Android devices running the version 10.28.2. However, the redesign of search shortcuts is currently not available on all phones, including the iOS devices. Source: Google Maps for Android redesigns search shortcuts by adding a carousel (Neowin)
  19. Google's decade-old feature used in Chrome to reduce browsing history is now available for location services in Android. After announcing it twice in the past year, Google is keeping its promise and unrolling Incognito mode for Maps for its Android users, the company confirmed in a blog post. Modeled after the same tool that can be used in Chrome since 2008 to visit web pages without any browsing history being recorded within the platform, the new feature will prevent users' activity in Maps from being saved to their Google account. This means that, when it is switched on, you can search and view locations without having any information added to your Google account history – making, for instance, Google's personalized recommendations a lot more neutral, since they are based on your personal data. Maps will also stop sending you notifications, updating your location history and sharing your location. Google first announced that Incognito would be released for Maps a few months ago, and more recently reiterated that the feature was coming soon. Eric Miglia, director of privacy and data protection office at Google, said: "managing your data should be just as easy as making a restaurant reservation or using Maps to find the fastest way back home". While Incognito is indeed easy to switch on – users simply have to tap the option on their profile picture in Maps – there is a caveat. "Turning on Incognito mode in Maps does not affect how your activity is used or saved by internet providers, other apps, voice search, and other Google services", reads the announcement. In other words, turning the feature on minimizes the information stored in users' personal Google accounts, but it doesn't do much to stop third-parties from accessing that data. It is therefore useful for those who wish to get rid of personalized recommendations prompted by Google, but it should not be seen as an entirely reliable privacy tool. When it is switched on, Incognito also stops some key features from running, which include Google Assistant's microphone in navigation, so it might not be a tool that commuters will be using at all times. As well as Incognito for Maps, Google teased two other services to enhance privacy protection in its services last month. YouTube will have a history auto-delete option, and Google Assistant will be getting voice commands that let users manage the Assistant's own privacy settings. The company's attempts to strengthen privacy controls for its users comes at the same time as loopholes emerged in Chrome's Incognito mode. Websites were found to be able to detect visitors based on whether or not an API was available in Chrome's FileSystem, which let them enforce free article limits in the case of news websites, for instance. Although Google modified its FileSystem in Chrome 76 to prevent this, website developers have again been crafting methods to bypass the new system. Incognito for Maps is expected to hit iOS soon, but no precise date was confirmed by Google. Source: Google Maps on Android user? Now you can switch to incognito mode (via ZDNet) p/s: While this news talks about new feature on Google Maps app in Android and iOS and initially intending to post under Mobile Software News, this news is better suited to be posted under Secuirty and Privacy News section, as this news holds greater emphasis on security and privacy features on Google Maps app, including Incognito mode.
  20. The Waze features keep on coming Google has quietly added a live speedometer into Google Maps, allowing you to keep an eye on your speed alongside local speed limits. Android Police reports that the feature can be turned on and off from the app’s Navigation Settings menu in Settings, after which it will display in the bottom left corner of the app during a car journey. The feature is just one of many that have trickled into Google Maps after first appearing in the Waze app, which Google bought way back in 2013. We’ve already seen speed limits come to the app, as well as incident reporting, which allows you to notify other drivers about crashes, police checkpoints, and speed cameras. Google Maps even adopted the ability to customize your navigation icon. The feature doesn’t appear to be available everywhere just yet. Android Police says that users have reported seeing it in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK, and the US. The feature is reportedly not currently available in Android Auto, but is in the Auto app. On a pre-existing support page, Google advises that its speed limits functionality is provided for “informational purposes only” and given how unreliable GPS can be, it’s probably best to take the same approach with the speedometer. Otherwise you might find yourself inadvertently making Speedy Gonzales look like Regular Gonzales the next time your phone loses signal. Source
  21. Google Maps gets a COVID-19 layer View COVID data as easily as you view traffic or satellite data. Tap the layer menu in the top right and press "COVID-19 Info" In the US you can zoom in for state-level data... ... or zoom in even more for county data Google Maps is getting a COVID-19 overlay, meaning soon you'll be able to see pandemic data as easily as you can view satellite or traffic data. Once the rollout hits your device, you'll be able to press the "layer" button and switch to a "COVID-19" view that will re-color the map. Google says the overlay is a "seven-day average of new COVID cases per 100,000 people for the area of the map you’re looking at." Users will also get an arrow indicating if the numbers are trending up or down. Here's the color code: Gray: Less than 1 case Yellow: 1-10 cases Orange: 10-20 cases Dark orange: 20-30 cases Red: 30-40 cases Dark red: 40+ cases Google says the information comes from "multiple authoritative sources, including Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, and Wikipedia." I wouldn't quite call Wikipedia an "authoritative source," but Google notes that "these sources get data from public health organizations like the World Health Organization, government health ministries, along with state and local health agencies and hospitals." COVID-19 data is available for all 220 countries and territories that Google Maps supports, with more detailed state or province, county, and city-level data where available. The feature rolls out worldwide on Android and iOS starting this week. Google Maps gets a COVID-19 layer
  22. Google Maps adds more color to distinguish terrain, will bring more detail to streets Google is bringing a new update to Maps that adds more color to distinguish between terrain. The feature builds on the app’s current color coding and introduces more granularity to the kind of terrain, on the screen. The colors allow users to distinguish places like “tan, arid beaches and deserts from blue lakes, rivers, oceans and ravines”. The changes can also identify snow on mountains and the density of greenery on a map. Left: Before | Right: After The firm says that the feature helps users explore an area in detail, virtually, before planning a visit. As for how the app differentiates the various landscapes, Google says that it combines computer vision and satellite data to analyze the terrain. It then assigns an HSV (hue, saturation, value) model to code denser terrain – such as forests – with a darker shade, and so on. While these visual changes are rolling out to all Maps users around the globe, the company is also working to bring another feature that improves street information for navigating on foot. The detailed view will help users locate exactly where “sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian islands” are located by marking them appropriately, something the firm says will help users with accessibility needs. The changes will also provide accurate shapes and width of the road. Detailed street maps will be rolled out in the coming months to users in London, New York, and San Francisco. The search giant plans to expand the features to more cities in the future. Lastly, Google says that Maps Platform developers will soon be able to integrate the updated visual color changes to their maps. Other recently announced improvements to the app such as the addition of traffic lights and docked bikeshare information improve usability for not just vehicular navigation, but also other modes of transport. Google Maps adds more color to distinguish terrain, will bring more detail to streets
  23. After pulling it three years ago, Google reintroduces Maps for Apple Watch Also, the company is adding CarPlay Dashboard support to the Google Maps iOS app. Today, Google made two announcements about Google Maps for Apple platforms. First, Google's app now works with the dashboard view on CarPlay screens, allowing drivers to see maps and media controls side-by-side. Second, Google is relaunching the Maps app on the Apple Watch, with turn-by-turn directions. CarPlay's dashboard mode was introduced in iOS 13 late last year, but it only supported Apple Maps. Apple began offering other developers the ability to take advantage of it in March with the release of iOS 13.4, and today marks the finalization of Google's support for the feature. Google's blog post announcing the update says it should go into effect for all users of CarPlay-supported vehicles today. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch won't arrive today, though. Instead, Google promises the app is launching worldwide "in the coming weeks." The app will offer "step-by-step" directions for driving, walking, cycling, or taking public transit. Google's announcement specifies that you can get directions to places you've previously saved, like the places you've set as your home or your workplace. To go somewhere you haven't previously saved, you'll have to start the process on your phone, Google's blog post says. Google Maps previously offered a Watch app that was an extension of the Google Maps iPhone app, but it was pulled in 2017 with no explanation provided for the move. That was part of a general exodus of major apps from the Watch at the time that also included Amazon and others. Since then, Apple has launched a standalone App Store for the Watch. Previously, users had to initiate Watch app downloads from the iPhone. Listing image by Google After pulling it three years ago, Google reintroduces Maps for Apple Watch
  24. Spammers continue to abuse Google Maps to promote scammy pirate links. These 'treasures' show up through the maps feature from where they are picked up by search engines. This can be pretty effective, it seems, as some links are getting thousands of views. Google Maps is a wonderful tool that helps millions of people find their way around the world. Some would be literally lost without it. Generally speaking, Maps is used to navigate the real world. However, spammers are also using it to guide prospective pirates on the Internet. This leads to rather unusual findings. For example, this week one of our searches guided us to a user-generated Google Map that marked a location in the middle of New Delhi, India. While it’s no secret that there are millions of pirates in the Asian country, it was still a bit of a surprise to see the location tagged as “GTA V Free Download For PC Full Version Setup+Torrents” Below is a screenshot on the map, which links to a now-removed page at hellboundgamers.com. It also reveals that these links can generate quite a lot of traffic, with this particular map having been viewed more than 12,000 times. When we investigated further, we found dozens of these pirates ‘treasures’ scattered around Google Maps. Some pinpoint specific locations, others just load a generic map. What they all have in common is that they are filled with pirate keywords. For example, one Google Maps layer targets prospective pirates of the movie “Boy Erased.” It is advertised with a bunch of related terms, such as ‘Full Movie Online Boy Erased,’ ‘Online Free Watch Boy Erased online free HDQ,’ ‘Boy Erased watch online free 1080P,’ to name a few. Some links are more nefarious than others. The trick can be used by pirates to draw attention to their sites, but more often it’s abused by scammers who link to some kind of paysite, where people should never leave their credit card details. That begs the question of how many people who viewed these links fell into a trap? The scammers use the My Maps trick because these search results are more likely to rank well. Google Maps is seen as a trusted site, as opposed to a random page where links are spammed. This problem isn’t entirely new either. We signaled similar issues in the past and Google is undoubtedly aware of them too. As is often the case with user-generated content, however, they rely on copyright holders to alert them. When we look at Google’s received takedown notices reported by Lumen, we see that many of these My Maps links have been reported by copyright holders. However, that doesn’t deter scammers and spammers from hiding new ‘treasures’ on Google Maps. Source
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