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GPS obsessed

29 August 2018

Google tracks local inventory on your mobile phone

in stock nearby Google tracks local inventory on your mobile phone

With SXSW going on in Austin, Texas, the big focus in the blogosphere is on location-based applications, probably most of which are tied somehow to social networking. Personally though, I find Google’s Product Search for mobile with local inventory much more interesting.

Live as of yesterday, the mobile application lets searchers see in product search results if products are in stock at nearby stores.

For example, in the image above, a search for Wii Fit displays a result with a blue dot and phrase “In stock nearby” underneath. If the searcher clicks on the phrase or dot, they’ll be taken to the seller’s page where there will be more information, a Google Maps listing and the option to get directions if My Location is enabled.

Currently the application works on the iPhone, Palm webOS and Android. It also works from if the searcher clicks on Shopping under the More tab-all from a mobile browser of course.

Right now, only a few retailers are participating in the program including Best Buy, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm. Other businesses that wish to participate can film out this form.


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Vodafone shuts down Wayfinder due to Google, Nokia

wayfinder Vodafone shuts down Wayfinder due to Google, Nokia

The demise of paid mobile mapping applications has begun. Just last year, European wireless carrier Vodafone shelled out $30 million to purchase Swedish startup Wayfinder, a turn-by-turn navigation platform. Of course, at the time Vodafone has every intention of charging for the application to make that $30 million back.

With the release of free Google Maps Navigation and free Nokia Ovi Maps navigation, both fully featured turn-by-turn navigation apps, Vodafone’s Wayfinder vision was cooked and the service has been officially shut down.

Vodafone’s Anna Cloke spoke to Engadget and put things into perspective:

“We could not charge for something that other gave away for free.”

And the deathwatch begins…

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Google Street View now covers all of UK

google streetview 150x150 Google Street View now covers all of UKGoogle today has extended its 360-degree, Street View photographic imagery coverage in the United Kingdom to include 95% of homes in the country and another 210, 000 miles of road.

Europe has been on fire recently with allegations that Street View, part of Google Maps, amounts to nothing more than a privacy invasion. Despite this, Spain, France and Italy join the UK as European Union countries that have been fully mapped by Google.

Users can request that Google remove images of them or their properties from Street View if they so choose.


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T-Mobile joins WaveMarket geolocation initiative

wavemarket logo T Mobile joins WaveMarket geolocation initiativeT-Mobile USA has joined WaveMarket’s Veriplace Cloud Location Platform Initiative today, enabling third-party mobile application developers access to the carriers’ anonymized location information gathered from subscriber smartphones.

Other US carriers including Sprint and AT&T are also members of the initiative meaning that T-Mobile’s 1000+ developers will have access to remote location information from over 150 million mobile devices across the United States.

The Veriplace platform provides a simple and single API that developers can hook into location-based applications, one that is even compatible with indoor geolocation acquisitions.

You can find out more about the Veriplace Location Aggregation Platform at

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Chatroulette Map locates video chat creeps

chatroulette map Chatroulette Map locates video chat creeps

If you haven’t yet heard of Chatroulette, it’s some crazy site that provides webcam video chats with complete strangers.

I really shouldn’t have to say anything more for you to picture the unsavory potential here.

A couple of months after the site reached global infamy, the first map mashup has appeared called Chatroulette Map. The application pulls the IP addresses of its users, and together with a screenshot, plots the whole package on a map.


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MapmyIndia releases Road Pilot GPS navigator

MapmyIndia Road Pilot GPS navigator
New Delhi-based MapmyIndia has released the Road Pilot GPS navigator for India’s automotive market. The 3.5-inch wide, touch screen unit, which doesn’t utilize a cellular connection, features pre-loaded maps of 620 cities, 30, 000 tourist locations, 576, 000 towns and cities and 2 million points of interest.
The Road Pilot navigates using voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions and has some new power-saving features like Sleep Mode which puts the navigator in standby mode when not in use so it can be booted up instantly the next time it is used. At the same time, battery power waste is reduced.
Available now in India, the Road Pilot GPS navigator costs Rs. 7,990 or roughly US$175. 

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Google Maps biking directions hits the United States

Google maps biking directions
Google, answering demand from the public, has added bicycling directions to Google Maps in the United States. By tweaking its routing algorithm, Google has enabled cyclists to route out a journey from point A to point B that manages to take into account hills, traffic on arterial roads and even busy intersections. This means that things like steep hills and traffic lights won’t be part of your bike route to work, likely lessening the time it takes to get there and reducing the overall effort.
The data for the bike trails was acquired in partnership with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and includes more than 12, 000 miles of coverage in 150 cities across the US. When looking at the map, dark green lines indicate bike-only trails, light green indicate a dedicated bike lane along a road and dashed green lines indicate roads that are preferred for cycling but do not include dedicated lanes. The routing algorithm will first favor dark green routes and gradually add less weight until it reached dashed green routes.
Like all other Google products, Google Maps biking directions will be improved with the help of user feedback. The company also says that once Map Maker is available in the United States, riders will be able to contribute their own information as well.

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TeleNav publishes GPS users search habits, reveals they like pizza

TeleNav business searches
TeleNav, a GPS navigation and mapping provider, has made good use of the location data it collects from the more than 13 million users of its navigation applications and published a report about some of their habits. Completely anonymized of course, the data reveals that business searches are perhaps just as important as the traditional navigation features TeleNav offers.
The analysis, confined to the United States, has revealed that Walmart is the most searched for business using TeleNav data, followed by Starbucks, Target, Best Buy and Bank of America. All of these businesses have made a splash in the mobile application marketplace with dedicated applications for various mobile platforms such as the iPhone. Not surprisingly, America’s favorite food by search is pizza, followed by Chinese and burgers.
When it comes to traditional navigation usage, bigger cities such as Los Angeles tend to mean more users attempt to re-route to avoid traffic or just use GPS in the first place. The report is a good, visual read with lots of pictures. Definitely worth it.


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Soccer Gets a GPS Upgrade

by Harriette Halepis / guest author

If you’ve ever watched a soccer match, then you know how close some calls can be. Thanks to a new invention called CTRUS (no doubt due to its limey green glow), the confusing world of “out of bounds” and “off sides” may be a thing of the past. CTRUS is a soccer ball, but it’s so much more than that too – in fact, it’s a soccer ball that’s entirely equipped with GPS tracking capabilities.

CTRUS was designed by AGENT, and it comes with GPS and RFID tracking capabilities. The idea behind the ball is to track each move and kick so precisely that there’s no need for last minute calls. The ball itself is made from a shell that’s entirely translucent. Inside of the ball sits a durable CPU that can be read by all who look into it – a kind of crystal soccer ball, if you will.

While the idea is entirely noble (and AGENT is the first company to come up with a ball of this type), many are sceptical that the CTRUS ball will actually work. Most close calls are incredibly precise, and GPS tracking technology may not be accurate enough to pinpoint every move that a ball makes. Still, the idea is a nice one that’s bound to be perfected within the near future.

For now, CTRUS isn’t available for retail sale (or on soccer fields), but it is gaining a lot of attention. Never before has a soccer ball been equipped with such high-tech features. CTRUS opens up an entirely new window within the world of sports – one that may do-away with the referee professional altogether. Then again, the day that sports fields don’t require the scrutiny of a black and white shrouded ref is still far away. For now, those who wish sports were a lot more cut and dry can look forward to more juicy inventions such as the AGENT CTRUS.

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Facebook built-in location features coming in April

I’ve always known it would just be a matter of time until Facebook rolled out built-in geolocation features. According to the New York Times Bits blog, citing company sources, Facebook will officially announced geolocation features at its annual f8 developers conference in late April. According to Bits, Facebook will not only allow users to append location information to their status updates but also provide a set of APIs so that developers can allow location information to be shared with the social networking platform.

With 400 million users this has the potential to turn the location-based application industry upside down. Facebook’s 100 million active mobile users are perhaps even more significant. But the company says it won’t attempt to compete with the Foursquare’s and Gowalla’s of the world, but rather try to take on Google in the local small business advertising niche. How that’ll work remains to be seen.

Twitter has also apparently rolled out geolocation capabilities on its website today though it’s been available from mobile phones and via its API for some time.

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