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TAG | Maps

Some days ago Google presented their new mobile phone – Nexus S, and the new version of Android – 2.3 Gingerbread. At the same time, the technological giant presented a new version of Google Maps, but that was somehow neglected by most people as the noise was about Gingerbread and Nexus S. There are many changes and the most important and significant one is the lack of the annoying tiles.

Google Maps 5 offers a completely new approach in the way it represents the data to the end user. Instead of using the tile images, which caused sometimes a frustrating delay in loading and displaying them, Google has decided to use vectors. Everything is represented by vectors, thus the load time is almost equal to 0 and the user can browse around the maps quickly and easily. With the use of the vectors, some pretty good features have been added. Multitouch control is now present – rotate or tilt the map, sliding 2 fingers up and down the screen and the well-known 3D buildings will emerge from the flat image, giving you more clear image of the region.

Google Maps 5 was presented by Andy Rubin some days ago on a prototype tablet from Motorola and he said that we can expect Google Maps 5 in the market in a couple of days. So far so good, but here comes the bad news – the new version of Google Maps will be supported only by several mobile phones so far:

  • Galaxy S
  • Droid
  • Droid X
  • Droid 2
  • Droid Incredible
  • Evo
  • Nexus S
  • G2

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These days there are some good news about Google services’ users, including the FroYo ones. Google has released an update for Google Maps, version 4.6. It features a new design of the Place page reviews and many more options to filter your search results, Latitude is also updated, including a real-time update.

The updated design of Place’s page is done in such a way, that it combines “Around the web” reviews and Google users’ reviews share one and the same design, so you don’t have to get used to 2 different UIs. As for the filter changes – previously it was possible to filter the search results only by distance and/or ratings but now you can filter them by “Open now”, “Neighborhood” and “Related searches” as well.

The updated version of Latitude offers much faster and more often update, so Google hopes that more people will start using this social feature of Android. In this way you will be able to see where your friends are right now and join them in the party. A great feature, but you and your friends should be running Android 2.2 on your mobile devices. I wonder what would be the impact on the battery life if using the GPS all the time.

The other news from Google are about Android 2.2 and Google Docs. Now it is possible to remotely control a device via Google Docs and an ordinary web browser. Being an admin, via the web browser you can remotely:

  • Remotely do a data wipe of lost or stolen devices
  • Lock idle devices after some inactivity
  • Require a password on each device
  • Set minimum length for passwords
  • Require passwords to include letters and/or numbers
  • Withdraw access to company information when an employee leaves it, without the need to entirely wipe the whole phone.

In order to be able to use all these features, the devices should have Google Apps Device Policy installed. It will be available on the market in a few days and it will be free for users within Google Apps Premier and Education Edition products.

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