Location-Based Services

Google Maps local advertising added to Android and iOS apps

Google Maps local advertising added to Android and iOS apps

Google may give away software like Google Maps for iOS and Android free, but it has to make its money somewhere, and so the company announced today that the location apps will now support AdWords advertising. The updated app for iPhone, iPad, and Android now injects localized adverts at the bottom of the screen, based on what the user is searching for and where; so, if you're hunting down a cake shop, you might see a promotion for a nearby bakery.

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Google City Experts takes on Yelp with crowdsourced local reviews

Google City Experts takes on Yelp with crowdsourced local reviews

Google has launched Google City Experts, a new program aiming to take on Yelp and other local review sites by promising perks and praise for those regularly writing up their experiences at restaurants, theaters, and other locations around select cities. The scheme, which ties together Google Maps and Google+, promises "Local Insiders" access to an exclusive community, Google-branded swag, and special event invitations in return for committing to producing "quality reviews" each month.

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Google Now “hyper-local” cards in testing

Google Now “hyper-local” cards in testing

Google is experimenting with a "hyper-local news card" for Google Now that flags up location-specific information, such as nearby store promotions, social activities, or breaking news. The new card, currently in internal testing as Google works on the overall "Explore" experience, was confirmed by VP of search and assist at the company, Johanna Wright. Speaking to Quartz, Wright described the new info pane as "very, very targeted to you and your interests."

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Zagat rebooted as Google drops fees and revamps apps

Zagat rebooted as Google drops fees and revamps apps

Google has revealed new Android and iPhone apps for Zagat, along with a redesigned website, hoping to address critics' complaints that it has left the restaurant review service to stagnate since acquiring it in late 2011. The new apps now have restaurant news and videos integrated, and Google has dropped the registration and fees, making the ratings accessible to all.

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Google Alfred killed in latest location-services cull

Google Alfred killed in latest location-services cull

Google's Alfred local recommendations app is to be shut down within days, the company has quietly confirmed to users, with users only having until the end of play today to extract their data. The notification of the July 19 shut-down was flagged up in the Alfred app itself, TechCrunch reports, and comes around 18 months after Google acquired the app as part of its Clever Sense buy in December 2011.

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Google kills Latitude and buries Google Maps offline

Google kills Latitude and buries Google Maps offline

Google may have a new version of Google Maps to be excited about, but it's also goodbye to some old features along the way, with the search giant announcing plans to retire Latitude and hopefully shift users to Google+ instead. Latitude has a month left to live and is in fact completely absent from the new version of Google Maps, but users won't be able to avoid the shutdown by bypassing the upgrade since Google is axing server-side support - and Latitude friends lists - too. Meanwhile, offline mapping for Google Maps has been buried away as a bizarre "Easter egg" in the newest version.

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Google grabs Waze in $1.1bn crowdsourced mapping deal says insider

Google grabs Waze in $1.1bn crowdsourced mapping deal says insider

Google has acquired crowdsourced-mapping company Waze in a $1.1bn deal, according to insiders familiar with the negotiations, with the well-rumored agreement potentially being confirmed sometime today. Whispers of the imminent deal resurfaced over the weekend, but according to Bloomberg's source, the talks have been finalized, though could still flounder on regulatory approval.

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Wikipedia Nearby flags close-by curiosities on your smartphone

Wikipedia Nearby flags close-by curiosities on your smartphone

Wikipedia has launched its first location-based feature for mobile readers, Wikipedia Nearby, which pulls up articles related to your current position. Described as the learning equivalent of services like Yelp, which show nearby coffee shops and entertainment, Wikipedia Nearby sifts through historic sites, parks, museums, and other points of interest, and also allows the reader to add to them while on the move.

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Facebook and Waze: blending your worlds together one data point at a time

Facebook and Waze: blending your worlds together one data point at a time

Word has it Facebook is looking to acquire crowdsource navigation app Waze for a hefty $1 billion. Such a move would provide the social network with an array of location-based data far more substantial than any it has had thus far, adding the information on top of what it already knows about consumers' likes, check-ins, and social circles. There's been a lot of talk about what Waze could do for Facebook, but the end result of that is more personal: what a Waze acquisition could mean for mobile users. Location data presents the ability to uniquely blend our real-world and digital worlds, mixing them together in such a way that one is always fueling the other.

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