Online Map Roundup for January 2023

Apple Maps

Apple Maps now provides parking information for 8,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Apple also launched Business Connect, a tool for businesses to upload their information to be used by Apple’s various apps: not just Maps, though that’s obvious (and something Google has been offering for quite some time: see James’s post for context). More at Ars Technica.

Google Maps

The first cars to get Google’s enhanced maps (previously), which include things like traffic lights and stop signs, will be the Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3, via Android Auto.

Meanwhile, turn-by-turn directions on Google’s Wear OS smart watch platform will no longer require a connected smartphone.

The Privacy Implications of a Slight URL Change

Garrit Franke thinks a change in Google Maps’s web address—it now redirects from a subdirectory, maps.google.com, to a folder on Google’s root directory, google.com/maps1—means that location permission given to Google Maps (a normal thing to do when using maps) could be applied across all of Google’s services without asking for additional permissions. [Daring Fireball/Lat × Long]

Marie Tharp as Google Doodle

Google Doodle of Marie Tharp (screenshot)

Marie Tharp is the subject of today’s Google Doodle, with an interactive narration of her life story. That story—how Tharp’s pioneering work mapping the ocean floor helped prove the theory of continental drift—is familiar to long-time readers of this blog: this is the 12th post I’ve made about the legendary cartographer. But someone is going to be one of today’s lucky 10,000 because of this, and that’s not a bad thing.

Ortelius was a Google Doodle in May 2018.

Report: Google to Shut Down Standalone Street View App

Street View app iconAccording to 9to5Google, Google looks like it’s getting ready to shut down its standalone Street View app (previously). “This standalone app served two distinct groups of people—those who wanted to deeply browse Street View and those who wanted to contribute their own 360° imagery. Considering the more popular Google Maps app has Street View support and Google offers a ‘Street View Studio’ web app for contributors, it should be no surprise to learn that the company is now preparing to shut down the Street View app.” If their report is correct, the shutdown would take place next March. [The Verge]

Online Map Roundup for August 2022

Google Maps sends people looking for abortion providers to so-called crisis pregnancy centres, which discourage the procedure, Bloomberg reports.

Also in Bloomberg, Mark Gurman discusses Apple’s plans to expand its advertising business, which apparently includes adding ads to Apple Maps.

Apple’s cycling maps now include Hawaii, and its detailed 3D cities now include Atlanta, Miami and Seattle. They’re also testing their upgraded maps in Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia.

Google Maps updates outlined in a blog post last month include cycling route information, location sharing, and photorealistic aerial views of major landmarks.

Instagram announced a searchable map feature last month, expanding its map feature beyond geolocating posts. This, after a Google VP noted that young users are using apps and TikTok for discovery purposes rather than Google’s Search or Maps. You wouldn’t think that Instagram and TikTok qualify as map apps, but the street finds its uses.

Online Map Roundup: Apple Maps in iOS 16, Google Maps Displays Tolls, Yandex Erases Borders

Apple Maps in iOS 16 will gain multi-stop routing, which I thought was a long-established feature on other platforms, as well as transit fare/card/pass integration. Apple’s new maps will also expand to more countries, and its detailed city maps will expand to more cities in the U.S., Australia and Canada. 9to5Mac has a summary.

As announced in April, Google Maps now displays estimated toll prices when routing.

Russian search engine Yandex is sidestepping the Russian invasion of Ukraine, frozen conflicts and other contested national borders by simply removing national borders from its map. It’s being spun as a pivot to local navigation. (Sure.)

Google Street View at 15

Google is marking the 15th anniversary of Street View. In a blog post, they preview their next camera, which weighs less than 15 pounds and doesn’t require complex equipment or a specialized car mount. They’re also making their historical Street View imagery (historical in the sense of not current: it only goes back 15 years at most) available via the Google Maps Android and iOS apps. More: 9to5Google, TechCrunch.

Google I/O: Immersive View and Other Updates to Google Maps

Three updates to Google Maps were announced at Google I/O today. The big one is an immersive view mode that creates a digital model of a city from aerial imagery and Street View: it’s coming later this year to London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo, with more cities coming later. It’s not just about 3D models of buildings—Apple’s got those—but also interiors, as Google CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated in the keynote.

Also announced: an expansion of eco-friendly routing to Europe and making Live View available to third-party apps. More coverage: Engadget, TechCrunch, The Verge.

Google Didn’t Stop Obscuring Imagery of Russian Military Sites Because the Imagery Hadn’t Been Obscured in the First Place

Yesterday, reports that Google Maps had stopped obscuring satellite imagery of sensitive Russian military facilities spread like wildfire across Twitter. Only there was no official announcement from Google saying they’d done so, and while Ukrainian Twitter was seriously running with it, I wanted to see some confirmation from the mapping side. In the event, an update to Ars Technica’s story says that Google hadn’t stopped blurring the imagery—the imagery hadn’t been blurred in the first place. “A Google spokesperson told Ars that the company hasn’t changed anything with regard to blurring out sensitive sites in Russia, so perhaps none of us were looking closely until now.”

Google Maps Updates Announced

Updates to Google Maps announced today include estimated prices for toll roads as well as increased navigation detail. “You’ll soon see traffic lights and stop signs along your route, along with enhanced details like building outlines and areas of interest. And, in select cities, you’ll see even more detailed information, like the shape and width of a road, including medians and islands–you can better understand where you are, and help decrease the odds of making last-minute lane changes or missing a turn.” There are also updates specific to the Apple platform: iPhone and iPad users will get new widgets, Siri and Spotlight integration, and Apple Watch support. The updates will be rolling out gradually: some in a few weeks, some later this summer.

Google Maps: Android My Maps Discontinued, Transit Crowdedness Feature Expanded

The Google My Maps Android app is being closed down in October. You may remember that My Maps is a feature allowing users to create custom maps on the Google Maps platform relatively easily. To be honest I wasn’t aware that it had its own Android app; once that’s closed it will be available via the web. Andro4all worries (Spanish) that this is a sign that My Maps could be discontinued, which on the one hand seems a bit premature, but on the other, well, Google does have a track record. [Alejandro Polanca]

Meanwhile, Google Maps has expanded its feature that predicts crowdedness on transit lines—useful when it’s still very much not a great idea to be in a packed subway car—to 10,000 agencies in 100 countries. [Macworld]

Google Maps Updates at Google I/O; Apple Maps Additions

Google Maps-related announcements at Google’s I/O 2021 keynote today include routing improvements to reduce hard braking, enhancements to Live View, expanding Google’s new detailed maps to 50 cities, identifying crowded areas, and tailoring map data to time of day and whether you’re travelling. This post takes a deeper dive on two of those upgrades. Coverage from the usual suspects: Engadget, The Verge.

Meanwhile, recent additions to Apple Maps include cycling directions in Seattle and Look Around imagery in Atlanta, Sendai and Kanazawa.

Apple and Google Updates: AI Improvements, Airport Health Measures

Last week Google announced “over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps” would be coming this year; these include bringing Live View indoors, a new air quality map layer, eco-friendly routing, and support for curbside pickup in business listings.

Meanwhile, Apple Maps is now displaying airport COVID-19-related health measures based on data from Airports Council International: press release. [AppleInsider, MacRumors]

Google and Apple Updates

Google explains how they identify and take action against fraudulent content—fake reviews, fake listings, content vandalism—on Google Maps.

Meanwhile, the ability to pay for parking and transit fares is being integrated into the Google Maps app (Engadget, The Verge).

On the Apple Maps front, cycling directions have come to Portland, Oregon and San Diego, and turn-by-turn navigation has been expanded in the United Arab Emirates.