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November 25 2013

Waze Now Lets Celebrities Voice Turn-By-Turn Directions

If you've ever wished your GPS had a sense of humor, Waze has a solution.

The crowd-sourced traffic and navigation app announced a new partnership with Universal Pictures to introduce a celebrity voice navigation feature. Comedian Kevin Hart will be the first to voice turn-by-turn directions in the app.

Waze, which offers voice-guided GPS navigation gleaned from users who share real-time traffic information, now gives users the option to replace the generic voice with a celebrity's

Hart's voice is currently available in the app, but the company hasn't announced which other famous co-pilots will be available to users in the future. Read more...

More about Application, Gps, Comedy, Navigation, and Waze

October 23 2013

These Pedestrian Maps Are a Feat of Design, Data and Diligence

Within a week of moving to New York City, you gain a grasp of "the grid" — streets run east-west, avenues run north-south, and everything follows a pretty simple numerical system. That is, until you get below Houston or pop into another borough. New York is known as a walkable city, but many of the walkers quickly lose their bearings in its concrete jungle. In fact, 10% of New Yorkers are lost at any given time.

We spoke about New York's walkability with Michael Bierut, a partner at NYC-based design firm Pentagram who's been working with New York's Department of Transportation for two years. The DOT wants to improve urban mobility, and it partnered with Pentagram for the LOOK! campaign and to create the city's new signage that displays parking information in a much clearer, hierarchical way. The design consultancy's current DOT project is WalkNYC, a pedestrian wayfinding system. The project was inspired by London's wayfinding system, and it required the collaboration of several firms — Pentagram teamed up with Read more...

More about New York City, Features, Navigation, Global Innovation Series, and Apps Software

August 09 2013

Your Brain's Built-In GPS System

Scientists have discovered a special brain cell that acts as a built-in GPS system. Called a “grid cell,” it allows the brain to remember the routes it took while on the move. Researchers say without the grid cell, humans would have to rely only on physical landmarks, causing them to get lost more easily

Scientists from Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA and Thomas Jefferson University studied 14 volunteers with epilepsy who played a navigation–heavy video game using a joystick.

Volunteers were given a series of tasks that required navigation skills. They followed a map to reach certain objects — then those objects were kept in the same places but made invisible. The idea was for the volunteers to navigate the path while finding the objects in their original location. Read more...

More about Gps, Navigation, and Lifestyle

August 03 2013

Google Glass Has a Navigation Problem. Here's How to Fix It

Google Glass has a navigation problem

You see, one of the device’s slickest tricks is its ability to beam directions to your eyes without requiring you to reach for your phone. But the second you step behind a wheel, this ability transforms from potentially awesome to potentially dangerous. That’s because, in order to read the Google Glass display (which sits mere inches in front of your eye) you need to shift your focus to very near ground — and away from the action behind it.

Now, if you’re walking down the sidewalk, this constant change of focus isn’t really a problem. But when you’re driving, and need to be aware of the dizzying intricacies of traffic, glancing up and shifting your focus to the foreground could be downright distracting. Read more...

More about Gps, Navigation, Wearables, Tech, and Gadgets

August 22 2012

Get There Faster With These 4 Traffic Apps

Sitting in traffic may seem like a necessary evil, but several app developers are devoted to making driving suck less. Commuting was once a lonely experience with drivers victimized by conditions outside their control. But what if cars on the road could move in harmony rather than like a tidal wave?

Mobile phone technology makes it possible to communicate with the people around you -- passively and indirectly -- therefore allowing everyone to move efficiently together. In addition to helping drivers avoid roadblocks, traffic apps are discovering interesting data around driving and commuting that can in turn inspire cities to create better infrastructures. Here, we've rounded up four a…
Continue reading...

More About: Global Innovation Series, Mobile, features, mashable, mobile apps, navigation, traffic

September 16 2011

Facebook’s Navigation Bar Becomes Omnipresent

Many Facebook users (us included) noticed that the top navigation bar is now locked on top of the screen even if you scroll the page down. This behavior is new: before, the top navigation bar would scroll up with the page, and now it’s visible all the time.

This subtle change lets users always access some of the most important features on Facebook: friend requests, messages, notifications and search on the left side, as well as home & profile anchor buttons and account settings on the right.

For comparison, Twitter uses a similar floating design for its navigation bar, which is also always visible on top.

The folks over at Inside Facebook think this may be the first stage in a much bigger redesign, which is to be unveiled at Facebook’s F8 conference. If they’re right, Facebook is looking to lock the ads on the right side of the screen to be always visible too, which would surely increase the click-through rates but it would also make the page a bit more crowded.

Has the new, locked top navigation bar gone live for you? How do you like it? Please, share your opinions in the comments.

More About: design, Facebook, navigation, social network, social networking

February 08 2011

Waze Updates iPhone App With Voice Alerts for Traffic & Road Hazards

Social navigation app Waze is out with an update for its iPhone app Tuesday that introduces real-time voice alerts for traffic, accidents and dangerous weather conditions.

Waze iPhone users can now report road-related incidents with brief audio descriptions. Those reports are then automatically shared with users in the surrounding area who are heading in the direction of the traffic jam or hazard.

The Waze community includes more than 2.6 million drivers who already use the service to crowdsource real-time traffic reports — reports being syndicated to local news outlets like NBC2 in Florida. The addition of voice alerts is a natural extension for the startup that allows users to help each other in a more proactive manner.

“Everyday, drivers are faced with any number of dangers on the road … The unpredictable nature of these hazards and lack of immediate road data leaves drivers vulnerable to the conditions ahead,” says Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze. “The only way this information can be collected and distributed in real-time is by the initiative of group-minded individuals and a means to warn their fellow drivers.”

The potentially time and frustration-saving voice alerts feature is restricted to iPhone users for now, but Waze plans to upgrade its Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile apps in the near future.

More About: iphone app, navigation, startup, waze

For more Startups coverage:

January 29 2011

December 21 2010

TomTom 1.6 for iPhone Brings Crowdsourced Map Corrections

TomTom has released an update to its iPhone App, bringing the version to 1.6 and enhancing it with Map Share capabilities, which enable users to apply verified crowdsourced corrections to their map.

Users can also make changes to their maps themselves, by editing street names, setting driving directions as well as blocking and unblocking streets, and share those changes with the TomTom community. As far as updating frequency goes, the app checks for new Map Share updates automatically every week, or on-demand.

Of course, the new version of the app also brings the latest version of the TomTom map. You can find the TomTom iPhone app in the iTunes store.

More About: crowdsourcing, gps, iphone, navigation, TomTom

For more Mobile coverage:

November 29 2010

Google Earth 6: Here’s What’s New

Google has announced the release of Google Earth 6. The latest version is available today for Windows, OS X and Linux.

The update includes:

  • Integrated Street View - The Google Maps Street View experience is now fully integrated into Google Earth. Pegman (the little guy that represents your Street View position) is now docked alongside the Google Earth navigation controls, where he launches Street View just like he does in Google Maps. The difference here is that you can go from orbiting the earth to standing in front of your childhood home. It may be a little disorienting.
  • 3D Trees - While Google Earth has supported 3D buildings for some time, trees were only recently added to liven up the environments. The addition allows those using walking navigations to take direct paths and — as the video illustrates — not walk into trees. It also keeps the landscape from looking like a desolate wasteland.
  • Better Historical Imagery - Historical imagery allows users to look at map views of times like Warsaw in 1935, London in 1945 and Port-au-Prince Haiti before and after the January earthquake. The feature was first added in Google Earth 5, but it wasn’t always clear when and where it was available. In Google Earth 6, the date of the oldest imagery will appear in the status bar at the bottom of the screen.
  • All in all, Google Earth 6 is more of a refinement than an outright overhaul, but if you’re a fan of Google Earth, you’re going to want to grab the new version stat. If you’ve never used the service, maybe this video demonstration will change your mind:

    More About: geolocation, google earth, Google Maps, navigation, streetview

    For more Tech coverage:

July 10 2010

Google Maps Adds 45° Aerial Imagery For All Users

Google has granted all Google Maps users the ability to view aerial photos taken at a 45° angle. Just zoom in at one of the supported locations and you’ll get a better view than you could before.

The feature was previously only available to developers and as part of Labs for Google Maps, a set of work-in-progress features that you had to opt in to. Now anyone who uses Google Maps can see the aerial images, but the locations are limited to just a few cities in Europe and South Africa, and on the west coast of the United States.

These pictures are taken from the air, not from orbit, so they’re sharper and their angle allows you to appreciate landmarks and buildings as they appear from the side, not just directly above. Microsoft’s Bing Maps has offered similar, higher-quality images by default for some time, so Google’s playing catch-up here.

Where It’s Available

Google Maps 45° aerial imagery is only available for a few locations in North America, Europe and Africa at present, but hopefully it will expand to more locations later. For now, the supported locations include places in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, and Rustenburg in South Africa; Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara in the United States; Dortmund in Germany and Venice in Italy.

Here’s a map of the support locations. You can browse the map yourself at Google’s website.

Reviews: Google, Google Maps

More About: aerial imagery, Google, google labs, Google Maps, navigation, satellite imagery

For more Social Media coverage:

April 23 2010

March 30 2010

MapQuest Brings Free Voice Navigation to the iPhone

It’s quite inevitable, really: after Google announced free turn-by-turn GPS navigation for Android devices, followed by Nokia’s decision to offer the same on its smartphones, the price of full-featured GPS navigation apps on other platforms is hurling towards zero.

Case in point: MapQuest 4 Mobile, a free GPS navigation app for the iPhone, now offers “basic voice guidance.

The app will tell you when you need to take a turn, and if you get lost, it will warn you that you’re off route. Other features include saving maps and routes on MapQuest.com and retrieving them on your iPhone, easy POI finding via the OS X dashboard-like Place Carousel, finding you on a map or in relation to a route, and free form search.

The app is available for free in Apple’s App Store.

Tags: gps, iphone, MapQuest, maps, Mobile 2.0, navigation

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