Laws on the books to stop texting or talking on a cell phone while driving are nothing new, in fact I know a guy who just got slammed with five points on his license for doing it. But laws regarding cell phone use while driving leave a gray area, GPS and map aids, programs not within the spirit of the laws when they were made and an uncertainty for courts.
The government is looking to change that.
The Transportation Department has asked congress to give them the ability to regulate map aids and devices as part of their ongoing battle with 'distracted driving.' The measure is part of the GROW AMERICA proposed transportation bill, and would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration free reign to set restriction and limits on apps and down the line demand changed to any it deems dangerous.
What does this mean in a practical sense? Apps for maps might start to look like the built in GPS system in your car, where some models make you press a button acknowledging that you will not set the device while the car is moving. It might mean that telling the court you were just checking your map won't get you off.
The measure has support from automakers who have already built those safeguards into their GPS devices. Regulatory agencies maintain that they already have the authority to regulate these apps as vehicle equipment, and only want it written into law.
That means they don't have the authority or they would not be demanding it from congress.
This evening Google released Google Maps 2.0 for iOS, and with it comes a bunch of new features, including full iPad support. That's a welcome change to owners of Apple's tablets, but the new Google Maps brings a bunch more with it.
Enhanced turn-by-turn navigation now includes live traffic updates and incident reports. When you are looking for something specific, Google Maps now drills down into popular categories like restaurants, playing, shopping, and sleeping. Google now owns Zagat, and as such, Zagat ratings are included and listed within the results. Google Offers also gets integrated into Maps, showing you results that have deals as well.
What may be seen as the coolest addition to the Google Maps app is the inclusion for indoor mapping. That means that you can now launch Google Maps to get indoor directions at places like malls, airports, bus and train stations, and more.
You can download Google Maps 2.0 for iOS now from the App Store.
Apple is set to show off OS X 10.9 at WWDC 2013 (which sold out in less than two minutes this year) and the current rumors point to the inclusion of a tabbed Finder and iOS-style multitasking that will allow background apps to pause, freeing system resources up for the apps you are using at the time. Additionally, the Mission Control complaint that users with multiple monitors have been complaining about since the release of OS X 10.7 Lion will finally be addressed--if you have multiple monitors, you'll be able to have a space open on each one.
Other rumor mill nuggets point to both Siri and Apple Maps making their OS X debuts as well. We'll know more on June 10 when WWDC kicks off!
Read More | 9to5Mac
Google has released an update for Google Maps for iPhone, adding new search icons to make it easier and faster to find points of interest, as well as integration with your Google Contacts, which makes it easier to find friends. The search icons include things like restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and other typical POIs. The way the contacts work is, if you have your friends address saved, then you can search for their name and have their address pop up on the map--it isn't meant to find your friends by location in real-time. You can download Google Maps for iPhone 1.1 now in the App Store.
Read More | Google Maps for iPhone
Google has finally reincarnated its map offering and is free of charge in Apple's App store for your consumption. The app promises features that the fabled old stock maps didn't offer like voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. It has been said by AllThingsD that Apple chose to do its own mapping solution because Google wouldn't offer that specific feature for iOS. My initial impression of the app is that it is visually appealing, and we are glad to see that Street View is present, along with public transit info. The most important thing is that the new Google Maps is vector-based, so navigating the map should be buttery smooth. Google reps have admitted that it's even better than maps for Android. Here's the run down of the features in the Google Maps reboot:
Read More | Google Maps for iOS
iOS developer Ben Guild has received alleged information on a Google Maps app for iOS 6 that is currently in alpha testing; including the classic blurry cam pics. The much desired Google Maps app is fast, vector-based, supports two-finger rotation to any angle, and is iPhone 5 ready. Unfortunately, there's no ETA of when it will arrive at the App Store. Of course, arrival time is not as important as making sure the app is tested and fully baked for consumers before launching. When all is said and done, Google Maps should be a free download for users.
Read More | Ben Guild
iOS 6 and iPhone 5 users now have a popular Google Maps feature available to them again--Street View. Google Street View is available in the Google Maps web app in Mobile Safari, as well as in the Chrome app. Users can save the web app to their Home screen for quick access to Google Maps. Not as elegant as a native app, but definitely usable.
It looks like Apple has even more in store for its mapping solution that'll make its debut in iOS 6 this fall. According to a Bloomberg report, iPhone users will be able to use Maps directly to check in to the local spots that they're visiting courtesy of Yelp's check-in service. Of course, this leaves us a bit confuses, as almost no one uses Yelp check-ins when compared to Foursquare or Facebook, but we're guessing that Apple doesn't wanna get too reliant on any one company for iOS features. Still, in this case, we think Yelp is a bit of a disappointment for system-level iOS 6 check-ins.
Read More | Bloomberg
Google has announced a few nice updates to Google Maps that will be rolling out soon. For starters, expect offline maps to come to mobile Android and iOS devices. You'll be able to look up a map area in advance and select it to be made available offline. Maps will then indicate how much space it will take up on your device, and will download the content with your approval.
The second major feature is greatly-improved 3D maps. Thanks to planes shooting images at a 45 degree angle and from directly above, Google used stereophotogrammetry to combine the images to create 3D scenes. Google was able to demo this on an internal version of Google Earth for iPad, showing off the city of San Francisco in 3D.
As previously reported, Apple is set to replace Google Maps in iOS 6 with an in-house solution that's the result of the company acquiring mapping companies like C3 Technologies, Poly9, and Placebase. Today, we see leaked screenshots from a BGR "trusted source" that shows off a bit more of what we can expect.
The screenshots show that the new 3D mode is certainly in the works in build 10A314 of iOS 6. Again, this is a total replacement for Google Maps, allowing Apple to provide the exact Maps experience that it want to provide on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. We expect to get a full preview of iOS 6 at WWDC next month.