New Google Maps App Gives Users More Search Functionality & Navigation Features

Google Maps icon Google announced today the release of a new Google Maps app for Android devices, with iPhone and iPad versions soon to follow. According to the announcement, the new Google Maps app will include more search functionality and updated navigation features, as well as Zagat reviews and discount offers for specific destinations. Google has also created a tablet-specific design of the app for Android tablets and iPads. With the new app, users can find locations without typing by tapping the search box to see cards showing eat, drink and shopping options. Google claims this new search functionalit [...]

Tempo “Calendar Assistant” Uses Search Like Google Now

Tempo calendar app Smart calendar app Tempo announced a $10 million "series A" funding round this morning. The app aims to replace the native calendar apps on smartphones. Needless to say, that's a tall order. However, the technology behind the app is derived from the same US Defense Department (DARPA) SRI-led research that produced Apple's Siri and Yahoo's Summly, among a few other "assistant" apps and services. As part of the Tempo investment round, Norman Winarsky, VP of SRI Ventures, has joined Tempo's Board of Directors The original DARPA project was called CALO, which stands for Cognitive Assis [...]

Apple Makes Bing The “Default Search Engine” For Siri

bing-siri-featured One of the things that you might have missed if you weren't paying really close attention to the live blogs of the Apple WWDC keynote is that when iOS 7 comes out Siri will be able to directly search Twitter, Wikipedia -- and Bing. From a search perspective that's potentially huge news. I'm speculating that you'll still be able to ask Siri to "search the web" and it will use whatever search engine you've chosen for Safari (still Google unless changed by the user). However Siri is now much more a legitimate "search engine" with Bing as the index. Integration of web search more directly in [...]

When It Comes to Favorite Tech Companies, Google Ranks #1, Apple #2 & Facebook #3

Google Apple Facebook When ranking the favorability of tech giants Google, Apple and Facebook, a recent Washington Post survey discovered that Google trumps both Apple and Facebook. According to the poll, 83 percent of the 1,007 Americans surveyed gave Google a favorable rating. Apple ranked second, with a 72 percent favorable rating. Facebook ranked least favorable, with only 60 percent of survey participants giving the social network a favorable rating. This year's survey results are not much different from 2012, when Google earned an 82 percent favorable rating, Apple a 74 percent favorable rating and Faceboo [...]

Mystery Solved: Why Mobile Safari Searchers Appear To Come “Direct” To Sites Rather Than Via Google

Mobil Safari Icon Since September, people using Safari in iOS 6 and searching on Google have appeared to publishers as if they've come directly to their sites, as opposed to having been driving by search. At last, the reason behind the Dark Google cut-off of data has been found: mobile Safari doesn't support the "meta referrer" tag. I know. Publishers who have been closely watching this situation are probably thinking that the reason was already known. It was Google Secure Search, and how Google's change to that back in October 2011 to withhold search terms means anything using that system will have sea [...]

Potential iOS Market For Google Now Is 2.5X Larger Than Android “Now” Base

Google Now for iOS Image 2 Google Now for iOS and Android are almost identical in their look at feel. And aside from a few "cards," the same is true of their content. But, there are some differences behind the scenes worth noting: one of them is the fact that with its launch on iOS this morning, Google Now is available to roughly 2.5 times more people than it is on Android. Google Now for Android is only available on those devices that feature Jelly Bean 4.1 or 4.2 (4.3 is apparently coming). What that means as a practical matter is that fewer than 200 million people out of more than 750 million Android devices activ [...]

iPhone & iPad Users To Get Google Now, As It Comes To iOS

Google Now for iOS Image 1 Previously Android-only, Google's "predictive search" tool Google Now is now available for the iPhone and iPad. It's part of an updated Google Search App for iOS. Google Now for iOS had been anticipated since March, when Engadget discovered a promotional video suggesting it would make the leap. Until its release this morning, Google Now had been available exclusively on devices running Android 4.1 ("Jelly Bean") or higher. We've written multiple times about Google Now in the past. But, if for some reason you're unfamiliar with it, Google Now is the company's "search assistant," of [...]

Will Mobile Apps Be Google’s Undoing? (Hint: No)

mobile-apps-search-featured The New York Times offers an interesting story about Google and the competitive landscape of mobile. The headline is "As Web Search Goes Mobile, Competitors Chip at Google’s Lead." The central idea of the article is that while Google is used on the PC equally to discover information and to navigate to specific sites, on smartphones people go directly to apps such as Amazon, Kayak or Yelp. As a basic matter, that's accurate. However, quoting Danny Sullivan, the story also acknowledges that there's still a great deal of mobile search activity, which is dominated by Google. Indeed, accordin [...]

Yes, Google Says It’s Having Problems Listing iTunes Preview Pages

Apple Google Logos Yes, it is harder to find pages to iTunes apps in Google. But no, the company says, it's not part of some nefarious plot. Rather, Google's having technical problems gathering iTunes Preview pages, an issue it's working to solve. Google has confirmed the issue, saying: We've been having some issues fetching pages from the iTunes web servers, and as a result some people may have had problems finding iTunes apps in search easily. We're working with the team there to ensure search users can find what they're looking for. In particular, the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts, said on Tw [...]

Apple Hiring ‘Ground Truth’ Managers To Improve Maps

apple-maps-featured If job listings are any indication, Apple remains committed to improving its iOS Maps app. As the iDownload Blog spotted, Apple currently has seven job listings for what's called a "Maps Ground Truth Manager." The positions are based around the world -- U.S., Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Japan, Asia-Pacific, the Americas and Middle East/Africa. The job description explains that these Ground Truth Managers will be responsible for improving and ensuring the accuracy of Apple Maps. The Maps team is searching for a manager for the team responsible for regional map quality and ground trut [...]

Apple Buys Indoor Location Company, What’s It Up To?

apple-maps-featured This weekend the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had paid roughly $20 million for a company called WifiSLAM. The company was an early stage startup that had raised roughly $1 million in angel investment. It appears to have had some ambitious plans, according to a company description on AngelList: We are building the next generation of location-based mobile apps that, for the first time, engage with users at the scale that personal interaction actually takes place. Applications range from step-by-step indoor navigation, to product-level retail customer engagement, to proximity-based [...]

Will Google Now For iPhone & iPad Boost Google Search App Usage?

Google Now for iPhone & iPad Engadget spotted and has archived a promotional video that suggests the Google Search App for iOS may be gaining Google Now support. That support might help boost usage of the Google Search App, which barely makes the iTunes Top 100. Google Now No Longer Android-Only? Google Now is Google's predictive search assistant, which tries to anticipate answers to things before you ask, such as travel times to destinations you frequent. Google Now is available for newer Android devices but not for the iPhone. Late last year, after two months of delay, an upgraded Google Search App was approve [...]

Financial Analyst Affirms Google’s $1 Billion In “Default Search” Payments To Apple

apple-google-featured Last year the FTC asked Apple to disclose the terms of Google’s "default" search presence on iOS. This was part of the US government’s broader antitrust investigation of Google, which is now over. To my knowledge, none of that information made it out into the public eye. However, at approximately the same time, an analyst at Macquarie Capital estimated that Google was making $1.3 billion annually in paid search revenue from iOS devices. Macquarie speculated that Google returned about $1 billion of that to Apple as part of the agreement that made Google the default search engine on the S [...]

Ever Wanted To Be Siri? Apple Seeks A Writer

By now, everyone's used to Siri's wit. Tell her you love her, and Apple's Siri digital assistant may respond that all you need is love -- and an iPhone. Or that it will never work out. And she's got jokes for a variety of other queries. But who's the woman behind Siri? Or the man? Or the team? Because there are people, and Apple's hiring someone. Spotted via Zach Seward, Apple's apparently seeking a "Siri Writer." From the post on LinkedIn: We’re looking for a uniquely creative individual to help us evolve and enrich Siri, our virtual personal assistant. Siri’s known for ‘her’ w [...]

Rumor: Apple May Buy Crowdsourced Mapping App Waze

Waze logo Is Apple considering buying Waze? That's what TechCrunch is saying by way of the rumor mill. If you don't already know, Waze is a crowd-sourced mapping and traffic app. But it's also a social community; it's not that far removed from Foursquare. That's what makes any potential acquisition here really interesting. There are many local data providers or vendors that could help improve Apple's local database of places. But if it were to acquire Waze, which has a strong international following as well, it would get a social network and not merely a database. If you squint a little an Appl [...]

Report: No, Google Maps Not Responsible For iOS 6 Upgrades

google-maps-iphone-icon The notion that Google Maps drove a rash of iOS 6 upgrades turns out to be wrong according to ad network Chitika. As several people have already argued, iOS 6 traffic growth more likely came from the release of the iPhone 5 in China (Apple said it sold 2 million handsets over the initial weekend). Mobile ad exchange MoPub earlier this week suggested a large contingent of Apple iPhone owners who hadn't yet upgraded from iOS 5 to iOS 6 were prompted to do so by the release of the new Google Maps app. That story seemed to fit with the immense anticipation and interest, among tech writers, [...]

Study Hints At Long-Term Siri Threat To Google In Mobile

siri-featured Apple Insider is reporting, based on a study by investment firm Piper Jaffray, that Siri today (iOS 6) relies on Google considerably less than it did in iOS 5. That's partly a result of the switch from Google's local data in Maps to Apple's own mapping data. However another part of the change is probably the addition of more non-Google sources of structured data to support Siri. In Piper Jaffray's previous study it found that Siri used Google or Google data to answer 60 percent of queries. Now that number has dropped to 30 percent. The chart below (via Apple Insider) illustrates who "w [...]

Apple Vs. Google Maps: Reality Check Time

apple-google-featured Google Maps new iOS app is terrific -- although initiating navigation isn't as intuitive as it might be. But I've found that Apple Maps is as good or nearly as good, at least in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have not had a chance to test maps apps side-by-side in other regions. Here's what can be said from my experience of the comparison this past weekend: Google Maps offers more local data on the map when doing a category search. It also does a somewhat better job with the "local search" experience overall when the map is the entry point Google's local business profile pages offe [...]

Google Maps Is Back On The iPhone: Native iOS App Released

google-maps-ios-iphone-featured Google has released its long-awaited map app for the iPhone. And it delivers all the expected features: voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, traffic, public transit, Street View and so on. It's better than Google Maps for Android because it has been built or rebuilt "from the ground up" and didn't grow by accretion. The bottom line: it delivers. Yet it's also not 100 percent satisfying (at least in my initial test). I'm not sure what I was expecting. It's not integrated with Siri. You can't say "I need directions to San Francisco" and be taken to Google Maps, as you once could. Instea [...]

Grokr & Expect Labs: More Mobile Search Insurgents Appear

Grokr weather Just when you thought competition in search was effectively over, it starts to get interesting again. Over the past two weeks I've spoken to no less than four companies that say they are trying to reinvent "mobile search" for smartphones or tablets. I would almost guarantee there are more out there as well. These companies either believe Google is vulnerable in mobile or say they're trying to bring a fresh approach to content discovery that goes beyond what they believe has been done to date on mobile devices. A More Visual Approach Last week I wrote about KickVox, a new mobile search a [...]

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