We took Bing on a few test drives against Google's map navigation, all in the San Francisco Bay Area. Both apps will likely eventually get you where you want to go, but both exhibited overly creative directions and produced their own frustrating errors.
What we liked We immediately noticed Bing's less tinny-sounding directions bot. Sure, "she" still sounds robotic, but less so than Google's navigatrix. We also appreciated how the Bing app "bings" before sounding off the next direction. The chime was a natural and unintrusive interruption to signal that voice guidance is imminent. It would have been nice if Bing also chimed to indicate that it's time to make a left or right turn, as Magellan's GPS units do, but that's a more minor quibble.
What we didn't like Bing was the more navigationally flawed app in our tests compared with Google's navigation. Google's maps also have more features and options; for example, a street-level and bird's eye perspective of the map.
Within our first two test runs, Bing thrice dispensed misdirections that didn't correlate to the real world, including directing us to circle around a neighborhood even when we were on the same street as the destination address. There were also more trivial directional errors that turned up in subsequent testing. … Read more
Any urbanite knows that directions aren't created equally. Pedestrians can usually go wherever their feet can take them, but road traffic has to contend with hated one-way streets. Don't even get us started on cyclists. Luckily for bike riders toting Android phones in their messenger bags, a few days after Google added directions specifically for cyclists, the Maps team rolled biking guidance into the Android app.
Now cyclists who download the updated Google Maps 4.2 application from the Android Market can find optimal routes for their two-wheelers--both in the directions module and as a map layer that … Read more
Google Maps may tell you where to go, but it won't give you cupcakes. Waze, on the other hand, tempts you to use its map app by dangling digital treats and other social gaming incentives.
Starting Tuesday, BlackBerry owners can try out Waze in beta form. We jumped into a car with Waze and tooled around San Francisco testing out the new BlackBerry beta while hunting for e-cupcakes.
While you use Waze's turn-by-turn voice navigation, real-time traffic, and other location-specific alerts, the app simultaneously sends anonymous information, like your speed and location, back to its database to improve … Read more
After Paris 26 Gigapixels was created, it only made sense that someone would one-up the City of Love. Dubai can now be viewed in a whopping 45 gigapixels, thanks to photographer Gerald Donovan.
With the help of a Canon 7D, Donovan took 4,250 photos. He used a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L zoom lens at 400mm. According to a blog he wrote last week describing his feat, it took Donovan about three-and-a-half hours to take a full panoramic view for Dubai 45 Gigapixels. Amazingly, he did the shots in 98-degree weather, which made "the camera and lens...… Read more
A useful feature that Google rolled out for the Web last September has just made its way to U.S. Android phones and iPhones.
You might have noticed Place Pages as a newish type of search result that pops up on Google.com, often as the first nonsponsored listing. Connected to Google Maps (and Local search results), a Place Page gathers together key information about a location: the Web site, map, phone number, link to directions, and user reviews.
The mobile version, accessed through Google.com, similarly puts useful info for local businesses at your fingertips. "Local" is … Read more
Those of you who have become tired of typing addresses and search terms into Google Maps for Mobile now have a reprieve.
Version 4.1 of the standalone smartphone maps app brings voice search to Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile phones, a huge convenience feature that's already eased the typing pain in many an Android- and BlackBerry-carrying fingertip.
In addition to submitting to the usual voice queries, this version of Google Maps for Mobile subtly adds language choices to the settings page. The linguistically-sensitive developers have also slipped into the options Google's characteristic variety of accents that acknowledge … Read more
Now that the dust has settled after Google's horrible PR misadventure with the release of social-networking feature Google Buzz, Google is trying again to make Buzz ubiquitous--this time by adding it as a layer in Google Maps for the desktop.
To read publicly "buzzed" points of interest from your computer, there's a new Buzz layer in Google Maps that you can add from the "More" button that resides between the "Traffic" and "Map" buttons on the map face.
Buzz, which is read-only on Google Maps.com, will also give you … Read more
This is a true story: Two weeks ago I'm zipping along in southern England in the back seat of a silver VW Golf, listening for the better part of an hour and a half while my sister reads aloud directions to the car's driver from the screen of an HTC Touch.
The instructions are specific ("Turn left in 100 feet") but fruitless; we flip a U on the muddy one-track road and head back toward the village to blindly pick our way to our obscure destination, a farmhouse that brews traditional cider, using just wits and … Read more