Search giant Google and runner-up Bing are continuously improving on integrating their maps into mobile apps and making it more localized. They’re reaching a point of high integration, and being localized for search and advertising purposes.
Google has recently and proudly released what they call the next generation of mobile maps. To be specific, they just launched Google Maps 5.0 for Android, with two significant new features: 3D interaction and offline reliability. This innovation is looking to improve performance and service to more than 100 million users around the globe. The three main benefits that Google Maps 5.0 for Android offers include exploration of 3D maps, offline reliability and offline rerouting.
A user whose article was read in Google blog narrates how he was able to utilize this new feature in a trip lately. He said “I found 3D buildings especially useful on a recent trip to New York. From my hotel to the Google office in Chelsea and bars on the Lower East Side, this richer representation of the real world made the map much more helpful. And whenever I walked out of a building or subway station, I used compass mode to get myself quickly oriented and on my way.” Google is also gearing up for the holiday seasons with virtual greeting cards that you can send to your loved ones wherever they are in the United States. There will be 10 holiday covers that are designed with local favorites and an image that would represent the state or the city where the card came from.
On the other end of the competition is Bing and its new numerous visual innovations to bring forth a good fight over Google’s maps innovation. While Microsoft Bing struggles to cut down Google’s lead in the search engine market, the organization has relentlessly pushed for updates and upgrades for their users. The amazing apps for iPhone that Bing launched are the following: Bing Vision, Panorama Maker and Streetside View.
An article in SiliconAngle details how Bing Vision operates: “It makes use of the camera on the phone in order to bring the outside world into the search paradigm by allowing users to identify text and barcodes from objects. Given a barcode, the tool mimics many others that permit users to identify a product and view purchase information online (such as price check, shipping, etc.) The more intriguing part of this, however, involves scanning over text, which enables the user to search text directly from an image. An article could be scanned and information from it plugged directly from optical character recognition (the tool does this on the fly) and fed into the Bing search engine.”
Panorama maker, with the use of the camera on the phone, will allow the user to build a panorama view of the area around them by stitching together several images. If you are familiar with Google’s Streetview, Bing’s Streetside is no different except that it provides the user an image of what the street looks like with a broad vista from specific points along various directions. Reports have mentioned that this might be incorporated also with a local check-in function that imitates already-presented technologies like Facebook places, but information on this is unclear.
In another report, Mapquest partners with OpenStreetMap for user-curated map details. The union’s chief objective is to accurately map out the entire United States by empowering users to edit information within their neighborhood.