Google is bringing video reviews to Google Maps

e’re still very far away from real-time Google Street View or satellite imagery on Google Maps, but Google is, for the first time, introducing video in parts of its mapping service. Users who are part of the company’s Local Guides program can now shoot 10-second videos right from the Google Maps app (or upload 30-second clips from their camera roll).

While the company quietly launched this feature for Local Guides about two weeks ago, Google is now also notifying them about it via email and will likely release it publicly in the near future.

Until now, you could only upload still images to Google Maps. Videos, however, can capture a restaurant’s, store’s or sight’s atmosphere far better. Google is also explicitly allowing users to use their videos for personal reviews (as long as they adhere to its usual review policies that also apply to written reviews). Local businesses will, of course, also be able to use this feature to highlight their own products, too.

To record or upload videos to Google Maps, you’ll have to search for and select a place in Google Maps (this is Android-only for now, as far as we can see), scroll down and tap “add a photo,” tap the “Camera” icon and then hold the shutter to record (or you can upload a short video, too).

For now, though, the program is only open to Local Guides on Android, but it looks like Google is also testing this with local businesses already. As far as I can see, though, the videos will be visible on all platforms.

While this may look like a minor update at first, it’ll make for quite a change on Google Maps, especially for local business owners. Snapping a few pictures is pretty easy, after all, but chances are that many of them will soon want to take professional video of their locations, which is far harder and — if they hire a videographer — expensive.


Ola Gets Siri and Maps Integration for iOS 10 Users

Ola Gets Siri and Maps Integration for iOS 10 Users

One of iOS 10’s biggest new features was the opening up of the Siri voice-based virtual assistant to third-party apps. Alongside SiriKit, Apple also unveiled MapKit to allow third-party integration with Apple Maps. One of the first such integrations was with Uber, and now its biggest rival in India – Ola – has rolled out the same functionality, including Apple Maps support.

iPhone users running iOS 10 with the latest version of Ola can now ask Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, to book cabs for them. The update, which also includes Apple Maps integration, marks Ola’s growing focus on making cab booking even more accessible and convenient for iPhone users in India, Ola said in a statement.

(Also see: iOS 10: Ten Cool Things to Try in Apple’s Latest Mobile OS)

“Using just their voice, iPhone users running iOS 10 can simply say, ‘Hey Siri, get me an Olacab’ to book their next ride,” it added.

“Technology is at the core of all our solutions aimed at providing enhanced mobility to our customers. Integrating our app with iOS 10 is a step towards redefining customer experience. We are proud to be one of the early adopters of Sirikit and Mapkit in the world,” Ola co-founder and CTO Ankit Bhati said.

With this update, Apple users will also get access to Ola directly from Apple Maps while searching for their destination, he added.

Besides, Ola has launched an independent app on Apple Watch to ensure a consistent experience across all Apple devices.


Tags: Apple, iPhone, iOS 10, Ola, Siri, Update, Apple Maps, Apps, Apple Watch, Ride Hailing



Google Maps Gets a Cleaner Look, Starts Highlighting ‘Areas of Interest’

Google Maps Gets a Cleaner Look, Starts Highlighting 'Areas of Interest'


  • The update is rolling out globally to all users
  • New ‘Areas of Interest’ feature will easily highlight busy areas
  • Maps also get a new colour scheme

Search giant Google has updated its Maps to bring in a new user-friendly design. The changes includes a cleaner and simpler look with balanced colour schemes, and a new feature called ‘areas of interest’ that highlights “places where there’s a lot of activities and things to do”.

These areas of interest are busier areas of the map that will be shaded in orange for users to zoom and peek, and make a pit stop if they will. The update is rolling out gradually to iOS, Android, and desktop users of Google Maps across the globe.

“As part of this update, we’ve removed elements that aren’t absolutely required (like road outlines). The result is a cleaner look that makes it easier to see helpful and actionable information like traffic and transit. And we’ve improved the typography of street names, points of interest, transit stations, and more to make them more distinguishable from other things on the map, helping you navigate the world with fewer distractions,” Google explains on its blog.

(Also see: Google Maps for Android Getting Wi-Fi Only Mode and More)

There also a new colour scheme that has been introduced with this update. Different colours represent different things around you, like the park is shown in Green, while water bodies are shown in Blue. Similarly, there are colours assigned to freeways, highways, hospitals, schools, and even open grounds.

google_maps_1.jpg(Also see: Google Makes It Easier to Add Places and Suggest Changes in Maps)

The Google Maps app for Android recently also got the ability to add multiple destinations to your route. This is useful when you have to manoeuvre around areas making multiple stops. Users need to feed in pit stops, and Google Maps will route a way to all the destinations in your desired order, and begin navigation.

Tags: Apps, Google, Google Maps, Google Maps Update, Social



Google Maps for Android Getting Wi-Fi Only Mode and More

Google Maps for Android Getting Wi-Fi Only Mode and More


  • The Wi-Fi only mode is available to select Android users
  • The notifications for mass transit delays also available to select users
  • New features available to some users with Maps for Android version 9.32

Google Maps has started receiving new features such as a Wi-Fi only mode and a new notification option for mass transit delays. Unfortunately, the new features are not currently available to all users even with the latest v9.32 build, and instead are only limited to select users.

Android Police points out that the new features are being released as “staged rollouts” and can take some time before it is available for everyone. The new Wi-Fi only mode as the name suggests will limit the data usage and can be enabled via the Settings page of the Maps app. Notably, the Wi-Fi only setting will replace the option for “offline areas” and will essentially stop mobile data usage and will switch to Wi-Fi only. Android Police adds that when the Wi-Fi only mode is enabled for the first time, it shows a “quick reminder” that Google Maps may still use a “small amount of data.”

Another new feature that pops up for Maps users on version 9.32 for Android is the notifications for mass transit delays. The new feature seems targeted at users who take public transport such as bus or train (or Metro as well). Android Police says that the feature had some glitches and crashed the Maps app. We can expect to see some improvements to the feature before wider availability. For those who are eager to try out the app’s new features before their official rollout can sideload the Google-signed apk for Google Maps for Android v9.32.1 via APK Mirror, but do not that this is not a guarantee the new features will show up.


Recently, Maps for Android featured a new section that allowed users to add more details about a particular location. Google was said to bring the feature to get a “deeper understanding of places.” Google Maps for Android last month added the navigation to multiple destinations option to Android.

Tags: Android, Google, Google Maps, Maps