Location-Based Services

Qualcomm Gimbal takes on Apple iBeacon for micro-location

Qualcomm Gimbal takes on Apple iBeacon for micro-location

Qualcomm has launched Gimbal, its take on Apple's iBeacon, a system of context-aware proximity beacons intended for shopping, social networking, mobile services, and more. Using small, battery powered Bluetooth dongles which create localized hotspots to interact with iOS and - eventually - Android devices, Qualcomm says Gimbal can push product information, sports team details, topical adverts, and other content whenever a smartphone comes into range, just as iBeacon promises only with eventual cross-platform support.

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Apple iPhone-tracking lawsuit dismissed

Apple iPhone-tracking lawsuit dismissed

A lawsuit against Apple over iOS location tracking and infringed privacy has been dropped after two years, with the same judge that recently awarded the Cupertino firm $290m in damages from Samsung ruling that outraged iPhone users hadn't demonstrated any legitimate violations. The case, filed back in 2011, saw four iOS users complain that their smartphones were transmitting location data even when the feature was ostensibly turned off, with devices storing up to a year of records in an undisclosed log file.

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Apple patent automates your life via locations, devices, tasks

Apple patent automates your life via locations, devices, tasks

Apple has patented a home automation technology that can turn your lights on when you enter your home, fire up your home entertainment system when you're on your way, adjust HVAC settings depending on your activities in remote locations, and untold other applications, Apple Insider has revealed. The system would combine geo-fencing with activity detection, so that not only your location but also your specific activities inform the automated tasks. The patent was awarded today.

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Google Keep notifications and Now integration added

Google Keep notifications and Now integration added

Google Keep, the note-taking service launched to rival Evernote back in March, has been updated with notifications and Google Now integration, aiming to pull out relevant notes rather than wait for users to dig through them. The reminders system works both on time, as per a regular alarm, but also on location, meaning that the app can now flag up a notification with, say, your shopping list when you go into a grocery store.

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Nokia HERE Research: We talk Smart Cities, ethical tracking & self-driving cars

Nokia HERE Research: We talk Smart Cities, ethical tracking & self-driving cars

If you're carrying a smartphone or driving a modern car, you're a potential probe, and Nokia would love to unlock your location for its HERE Maps services. The company already has its own gathering programs in place yet, for all its gigabytes of daily data, Nokia's HERE 3D mapping car is only one part of a navigation data analysis program that combines 80,000 sources from across the globe. We sat down with Jane MacFarlane, head of HERE Research at Nokia, and along with her team responsible for making sense of the masses of data, to find out why being a probe might one day help you avoid traffic jams, travel more safely, and even discover the hottest new restaurants, all thanks to the "wisdom of crowds".

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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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