Google unveiled its new 3-D map technology Wednesday, PCMag reports. To provide a three-dimensional perspective for these maps, the search engine giant has deployed a fleet of planes to fly above U.S. cities and capture images.
The digital news source also reported that Google Maps on Android will be available in offline mode. The feature resulted from a Google Labs project in Google Maps for Android 5.7, and will let users preload the map of a foreign country without requiring an overseas data plan.
Executives from Google declined to comment on reports that Apple will not be using Google Maps for its iOS 6 operating system update. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company will instead be pursuing its own Maps app, which is due later this year, with more details likely to surface at its Worldwide Developer Conference next week.
I think I'm very proud of Google Maps ... which is available on a variety of platforms today, and we will make Google Maps as widely available as we can, Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering for Google Maps, said at a press conference in San Francisco, according to PCMag. Earlier in June, the company said it would unveil the next dimension of Google Maps, and now it seems that day has come.
The power of Google Maps has been developed over a number of years, McClendon said. The search box is more powerful than a geocoder.
This 3D technology will be available to several cities, McClendon said, with a launch in the coming weeks. Peter Birch, product manager for Google Earth, added that the 3D technology will cover metropolitan areas totaling about 300 million people by the end of the year.
As we were trying to create a map of the world, we created a map for the world, McClendon said.
It seems the next generation of smartphone technology will usher in some stiff competition in the field. As Apple develops its own exclusive 3-D map features, Google plans to limit its updated navigation technology on iOS devices. For example, turn-by-turn navigation will not be built into Maps for iOS, according to TechNewsWorld, but Android users will get it free.
Although there have been strained relationships, Apple has still used assets of Google to add to the Apple ecosystem experience, Ben Bajarin, a principal with Creative Strategies, told MacNewsWorld. But the cat's been out of the bag for a while that there are hostile feelings, more from Google against Apple than the other way around.
According to Carl Howe, research director for Yankee Group, the reason for ditching Google Maps could be simple: Apple believes it can do it better.
Apple wants to deliver a better experience, Howe told MacNewsWorld. And it gets to define what 'better' means.
At the end of May, purported images of Apple's new Maps app set to appear in iOS 6 surfaced on the Internet. BGR published blurry photos of the alleged Maps app, making it difficult to decipher much detail beyond which locations were being pinpointed.
BGR claimed to have obtained these images from sources close to the company, who said the revamped app will include a refurbished user interface and a new navigation bar. The iPhone version of the app will also contain a floating Locate Me button, and users will be able to peel back the bottom right corner to enable 3-D mode.
As with other Apple-exclusive features such as Siri, competitors' versions serving the same function are likely to have their positives and negatives. When comparing the Samsung Galaxy's Voice Control to Apple's Siri, The Verge's Vlad Savov found that neither was good enough. S Voice was better at performing geographic searches while Siri's technology is faster than Samsung's.
As of now, it's unclear exactly which navigation app will be most accurate and efficient, but Apple is sure to reveal more information at WWDC.