Google has been very busy. Along with the YouTube app for the iPhone 5, the search giant also found the time to update its iPad app, adding some extra tweaks and improvements that users will find extremely useful. Not surprisingly, the new Google experience focuses on finding restaurants, bars and entertainment establishments in your area. Now, the app showcases a horizontal feed that you can swipe back and forth with ease. If you start looking for ?Iranian restaurants? for example, the application will ?scan? your location then it show you pictures of the restaurants pertaining to the category you are looking for.
More than that, users of the app will find it useful that a Google map has been added to the restaurant?s section. It will pop-up once you select the particular place. If you are not sure where you should go dining, you can read some reviews that are also shown after you have tapped on a location. The app has been designed with the tablet experience in mind, so if you want more information, don?t be afraid to swipe until you find what you are looking for.
Not sure what you you?re in the mood for today? You can search restaurants or clubs by specific geographical area. The option is situated on the upper right corner and will showcase a map. From there, it?s easy to spot the area you want to scan. The updated app is part of Google?s strategy of localizing user experience and is a much needed addition.
There's a new over-the-air update rolling out for the international Samsung Galaxy S III (GT-i9300) this evening. The OTA message identifies it as a "stability update," but what it really does is remove local (on-device) search functionality in the phone's built-in Google Search app. The new version — XXBLG6 — is a relatively recent build, having been cooked just a few days ago on Jul. 20. A new baseband version, XXLG6, is also included, but we haven't noticed any other changes thus far.
Following legal action by Apple, which temporarily resulted in the Galaxy Nexus being banned in the U.S., Samsung has taken to pre-emptively disabling the ability to search within on-device data (like contacts and applications) on some U.S. Galaxy S III's. However, the decision to kill local search on the unlocked international model (which isn't sold in the U.S.) is a little perplexing, not least because Apple has yet to challenge Sammy over local search in the EU or UK, where the GT-i9300 is sold. Marking this solely as a "stability" update seems a little underhanded, as users aren't being informed that the latest OTA disables functionality which was included with their original purchase. Nevertheless, local search is now gone on the international Galaxy S III, a decision which only hurts consumers. We're sure folks are working on hacking local search back in as we speak.
If you're down with preemptively crippled search functionality, you can grab the 27MB OTA package through Samsung's software updates menu on the phone, or through the Kies desktop app.
A California jail offers a glimpse of the economic and environmental benefits of locally generated energy.
A recently completed distributed energy project at the large, 4,000-inmate Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, California, ties together power from fuel cells, solar panels, wind turbines, and diesel generators—all located at the jail—to form a microgrid that can operate independently of large, centralized power plants. The system keeps the power on when storms take down the grid, which is essential for safety at the maximum security facility, and it’s saving the jail about $100,000 a year.
Google+ is slowly swallowing whole or integrating with the many services of Google. The latest hook comes in Google+ Local, a new feature that finds places to visit based on a user’s location, friends’ recommendation, and Zagat ratings.
Avni Shah, director of product management at Google, announced today that Google is making use of its Zagat acquisition by incorporating the 30-point scale to rate locations. Curating reviews sourced from professionals and users, Google+ Local rates food, decor, service, and cost for restaurants, helping users make an informed decision about the places they would like to visit.
As seen with Search Plus Your World, the web update that brings in Google+ postings on search results, Google+ Local also incorporates your friends’ activities into the search process. People in your circles who have recommended or rated a nearby location will be pushed to the top of the results. So someone searching Google Maps for Android for a nice Argentine Steakhouse will see plenty of reviews, but their friend who appreciates a good steak and liked one restaurant over another will get top billing.
Of course, it’s not limited to just restaurants. Google+ Local also supports bowling alleys, movie theaters, museums, malls, boutiques, and any other establishment with a rating. It’s probably not limited to Google Maps either. TheVerge reported last week that the recently-updated Google+ Android app contains a not yet activated “Local” tab, so don’t be surprised if an update appears shortly containing these features.
For now, keep your eye on the Google Play store for when Google Maps updates. You can also explore Google+ Local by clicking the desktop version of Google+.
Google Maps for Android now tells you where to go even when you’re inside a building. The 6.7 update now available in Google Play provides the option for Maps users to get directions within certain facilities. So someone inside a mall can get directions to the food court from JC Penny, provided that mall has uploaded its floor plan to Google. This feature is available only to users in the United States and Japan.
In another move to provide more information in Maps, Google has brought Street View indoors. Since last year, Google has been sending photographers into volunteer businesses and taking panoramic photos of the establishment. Those photos are now available for many restaurants, comic book shops, and other businesses, allowing users to virtually navigate through these venues. This can come in handy to make sure a restaurant has the right atmosphere or to ensure that a store has the right kind of selection.
Aside from the new direction efforts, Maps now supports deals and discounts available from Google Offers. We’ve previously covered the Offers app as a useful way to find local deals, but the update in Maps narrows the field down to nearby offers rather than citywide. Users can explore within the Offers layer of Maps or set the app to notify them whenever they are in the area of a valid deal. Google Offers is currently available only in the United States, so only U.S. consumers will be able to take advantage of the deal.
[Download from Google Play]
Does anyone know of an Android shopping app that will allow me to input my own prices on items from local retailers? It seems like most apps scan the barcode and then search the internet for it. I would like an app that I can input my own data about products to compare local retailers. Thanks!
Research suggests news aggregators like Google drive more traffic to local sites—but not their home pages.
Google has long been a favorite scapegoat of the troubled news industry. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch famously accused the search titan of stealing from media outlets by drawing users to its aggregation service, Google News, and away from those sites’ home pages. New sites often dismiss Google’s claims that it helps them by driving traffic to their articles.
A push to build local police forces in Afghanistan has been “plagued by failures of vetting and oversight,” according to a report released Monday.
Most local news is an confusing mess; mashing it all into one place doesn’t solve that problem
I have yet to not be disappointed by a local news aggregator, and I consider myself a devoted connoisseur of their consistently unusable incoherence. Everyone wants these things to work — who doesn’t want to know what’s going on in their neighborhood? — so engineers continue to try, and fail, to create one that isn’t awful. The thing is, it’s not technologists’ fault.
Google Shopper has been updated to version 1.5, which now includes local coupons which integrate well with Google Places. Now when you open the app, on the bottom you’ll see options for Shop, Nearby Offers and My Offers, which will display all of the offers you have chosen to save.
Here is the full changelog:
To get Google Shopper, follow the links after the break.