Google is using unfair practices to cement its control over mobile internet usage on smartphones, a group of companies led by Microsoft alleged in a European antitrust complaint Tuesday.
The “FairSearch” initiative of 17 companies — which includes Microsoft, Nokia, and Oracle —claims Google is acting unfairly by giving away its Android operating system to mobile device companies on the condition that the U.S. online giant’s own software applications like YouTube and Google Maps are installed and prominently displayed.
“Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a Trojan horse to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data,” said Thomas Vinje, the group’s Brussels-based lawyer.
Android operating systems have the largest share of the smartphone market worldwide, followed by Apple’s iOS platform with systems from Blackberry, Microsoft and others far behind.
When I finally got to the Apple facility, it told me I had arrived at 1 Infinite Loop when in fact I was at 4 Infinite Loop, which is farther up the loop.
This was not a big deal as I continued to drive until I found the correct number.
“You have arrived at your destination,” it then announced and it displayed a handy picture of the location. It is semi-accurate and seems to be from the Google Street View data.
And although Google Maps on the computer shows the correct portal for 1 Infinite Loop, here is the location at Apple headquarters shown by the phone:
The results of this test are only surprising if you read all of the negative press about Apple’s Maps App and never actually tried it. I have consistently gotten better directions from Maps in my own testing against Google Maps, Waze and MapQuest.
Up next Google Street View!
Until Tuesday, North Korea appeared on Google Maps as a near-total white space — no roads, no train lines, no parks and no restaurants. The only thing labeled was the capital city, Pyongyang.
This all changed when Google, on Tuesday, rolled out a detailed map of one of the world’s most secretive states. The new map labels everything from Pyongyang’s subway stops to the country’s several city-sized gulags, as well as its monuments, hotels, hospitals and department stores.
According to a Google blog post, the maps were created by a group of volunteer ‘citizen cartographers,’ through an interface known as Google Map Maker. That program — much like Wikipedia — allows users to submit their own data, which is then fact-checked by other users, and sometimes altered many times over. Similar processes were used in other once-unmapped countries like Afghanistan and Burma.
In the case of North Korea, those volunteers worked from outside of the country, beginning from 2009. They used information that was already public, compiling details from existing analog maps, satellite images, or other Web-based materials. Much of the information was already available on the Internet, said Hwang Min-woo, 28, a volunteer mapmaker from Seoul who worked for two years on the project.
Google Plus never was, and will never be, only about competing directly with Facebook.
From its launch through today, everyone viewed Google Plus as “Google’s version of Facebook,” because that’s the only sticky, simple headline that we can wrap our brain around. Most people believe it’s just another social networking service where all of our friends are supposed to join and share photos, status updates, and messages with each other. But it’s really not that at all.
GOOGLE PLUS’S BRILLIANT METHOD OF GAINING NEW USERS IS PLAYING OUT RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR EYES, BUT NO ONE RECOGNIZES IT.
Sure, there’s a social networking aspect to it, but Google Plus is really Google’s version of Google. It’s the groundwork for a level of search quality difficult to fathom based on what we know today. It’s also the Borg-like hive-queen that connects all the other Google products like YouTube, Google Maps, Images, Offers, Books, and more. And Google is starting to roll these products all up into a big ball of awesome user experience by way of Google Plus, and that snowball is starting to pick up speed and mass.
We all glommed onto the concept of “Google’s version of Facebook,” and focused only on comparing the similarities and differences between the two (such as number of users it had, whether “Circles” are “good,” and how “hangouts” are weird). But in reality, none of that matters. I happen to think Circles are a slightly smarter way to organize your personal connections, but it’s a “feature” that Facebook could copy with their eyes closed in a single hackathon. It is not the kind of thing that decides success or failure.
What makes Google Plus different is that it is the new backbone of a company that does search better than anyone already—something Facebook could never compete with. You use Google to search, right? Well, imagine if Google knew every piece of data about you that Facebook knew. Imagine how better equipped they would be to serve you what you are looking for. Google Plus is a way of entrenching Google’s dominance in that area, not a way of stealing Facebook users. If you are in first place, that’s the time to accelerate your lead.
Google Plus’s brilliant method of gaining new users is playing out right in front of our eyes, but no one recognizes it.
t’s not often that maps make headlines, but they’ve been doing so with some regularity lately. Last week, tens of millions of iPhone users found that they could suddenly leave their homes again without getting either lost or cross. This was because Google GOOG -0.86% finally released an app containing its own (fairly brilliant) mapping system. Google Maps had been sorely missed for several months, ever since Apple AAPL +0.16% booted it in favor of the company’s own inadequate alternative—a cartographic dud blamed for everything from deleting Shakespeare’s birthplace to stranding Australian travelers in a desolate national park 43 miles away from their actual destination. As one Twitter wag declared: “I wouldn’t trade my Apple Maps for all the tea in Cuba.”
There was one potential bright spot, though: Among the many mistakes found in Apple Maps was a rather elegant solution to the continuing dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku islands. Japan controls them; China claims them. Apple Maps, when released, simply duplicated the islands, with two sets shown side-by-side—one for Japan, one for China. Win-win. (At least until the software update.) Call it diplomacy by digital dunderheadedness.
As some may recall, it was not so long ago that we got around by using maps that folded. Occasionally, if we wanted a truly global picture of our place in the world, we would pull shoulder-dislocating atlases from shelves. The world was bigger back then. Experience and cheaper travel have rendered it small, but nothing has shrunk the world more than digital mapping.
The furor over Apple’s Maps app has diminished somewhat since it peaked shortly after the release of iOS 6, but there are still people who have been holding out on upgrading to Apple’s latest mobile operating system, worried about what they might lose.
As of Thursday, those people have nothing left to wait for: After months of speculation, Google has released its own Maps app for the iPhone. (There’s as of yet no native version for the iPad, but as Google also launched its YouTube for the iPhone several months before it brought the app to the iPad, that’s not a huge surprise.) But if you’re expecting a carbon copy of the app that graced home screens in iOS 5 and earlier, you’re going to be surprised.
Officers in Mildura, Victoria, said they had had to assist drivers stranded after following the software’s directions.
Some of the drivers had had no food or water for 24 hours.
“Tests on the mapping system by police confirm the mapping systems lists Mildura in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, approximately 70km [45 miles] away from the actual location of Mildura,” she said.
“Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the park and temperatures can reach as high as 46[C], making this a potentially life-threatening issue.”
The force advised travellers to use an alternative mapping service until the issues had been fixed.
This year you can count down the days to Santa’s takeoff with the official NORAD Tracks Santa app. Enjoy playing “Elf Toss” throughout the month and then on December 24th, follow Santa with Google Maps for mobile by searching for [santa].
This is crazy. New photos have appeared in Google Maps showing unidentified titanic structures in the middle of the Chinese desert. The first one is an intricate network of what appears to be huge metallic stripes. Is this a military experiment?
Update 2: readers are finding even more weird stuff.
They seem to be wide lines drawn with some white material. Or maybe the dust have been dug by machinery.
It’s located in Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu, north of the Shule River, which crosses the Tibetan Plateau to the west into the Kumtag Desert. It covers an area approximately one mile long by more than 3,000 feet wide.
The tracks are perfectly executed, and they seem to be designed to be seen from orbit.
Perhaps it’s some kind of targeting or calibrating grid for Chinese spy satellites? Maybe it’s a QR code for aliens? Nobody really knows.
You can check it out yourself in Google Maps here.