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16 Dec 12 Google Maps: Is the iPhone version actually better than Android? – Dec. 13, 2012


Google’s new Apple iOS Apps map (right) is on par — and in some ways better — than its own Android version (left).

Google Maps is good, much better than Apple Maps. We all know that. But in his write-up of the new app, New York Times reviewer David Pogue said that even Google thought its new design was superior to the same app on Android.

Maybe that unnamed Google employee was just playing a sales-and-marketing role, talking the app up to generate interest, but it’s still a shocking statement.

Product ecosystems are one of the most fiercely competitive areas of tech right now. Companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft generally keep the best features of their products for themselves and deliver merely adequate iterations for other platforms.

So is the Google Maps app for Apple’s iOS really better than Google’s baked-in, native version for Android?

It depends on what it’s used for. Those who expected the Apple app to be a lesser version of Android’s software are wrong — but those expecting a carbon copy of the Android experience are also sorely mistaken.

The basic, core experience is essentially identical. Maps are the same, as are search results.. Both provide walking directions, public transit routes and voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation. Street view and 3-D maps are included. There’s no critical flaw in either app that makes one significantly better or worse than the other.

But make no mistake: these are different apps.

The Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) iOS version quickly and cleanly delivers the needed navigation data. From the very first screen, the experience is simply more intuitive. Instead of a search button in the bottom corner of the screen, the iOS app has a search bar along the top, instantly guiding people to the most frequently used feature of a maps app.

Next to that is a button taking users to a menu where they can choose among preset locations for home, work and other saved locations. That saves you from repeatedly entering the same addresses. The Android version has this feature, but it’s buried in a layer under the app’s home screen, obscuring it from the sight of less savvy smartphone users.

And then’s the info cards. When a user searches for a point of interest and taps on a pin, the information pops up in a bar at the bottom, instead of as an overlayed box on the map. Tap that box and it moves up, occupying 2/3 of the screen (leaving the last 1/3 for the existing map). You can swipe left and right to move between different search results, and can dig into business info, Zagat ratings and navigation options. When you’re finished, you simply swipe down and you’re back at the home screen.

It’s far cleaner and more intuitive than what the Android version offers.

But that’s not to say that the Android app doesn’t have its own advantages. Android is all about raw functionality. Offline maps are an exclusive perk, along with the less-essential but still intriguing indoor maps, terrain maps and bicycle-route overlays. And, by virtue of Apple’s fickleness, it enjoys the benefits of optimizations that come from being built straight into the operating system: smoother panning and zooming, enhanced functionality while running in the background, and default maps-app status.

There’s deep integration with other Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) services, which can’t be found in the iOS version. Access to local recommendations, offers, Wikipedia overlays and recently checked-in locales can all be accessed through the Android software.

The distinctions make sense. That Google chose to make any aspect of its product superior on another platform seems nuts until you look at the context in which the two different platforms are used.

Apple’s iOS is manically focused on delivering an intuitive user experience, so it got a better user interface (which will probably work its way into the Android version someday). Android prioritized customization and power-user functionality since day one. Anyone who immerses themselves in Google’s services — and therefore wants deep integration with them — probably has an Android phone.

Releasing an equally high-quality product on a competitor’s platform is a smart, insightful move. It’s great for consumers, and in the long run, that’s great for Google.


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Article source: http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/13/technology/mobile/google-maps-iphone-android-comparison/index.html

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15 Jun 12 Acer Iconia A700: High-resolution Android tablet


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James’ writing has appeared in many print publications: Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine, Information Week and Laptop Magazine to name a few. James’ coverage of the mobile technology sector has regularly appeared in the New York Times, Salon.com and CNN/ Fortune online. Not just a writer, James has filmed numerous video reviews and how-tos that have garnered well over a million viewers. He has appeared on local news segments and been interviewed by the Associated Press on mobile technology topics. Additionally, James has been podcasting about mobile technology for years.

Article source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/acer-iconia-a700-high-resolution-android-tablet/8175

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09 Jun 12 A Week in Google: AdMob Joins AdWords, Chrome Hits Windows 8 Metro and More


Google powers on with updates and innovations across its smorgasbord of businesses, with tweaks to its ad network and getting ready for Windows 8. It has also added a Trusted Stores logo for Web merchants, but the company is still dogged by long-running legal wrangles over its Street View feature.

Adding Ads Together

Google has finally gotten around to integrating AdMob network inventory, for its mobile ad network, with the AdWords platform. This will enable targeted mobile app campaigns through the AdWords system, letting advertisers focus on specific types of smartphone (iPhone or high-end Androids for high class products, or BlackBerry for business executives, for example).

Advertisers can also target their adverts by mobile app category. Therefore, their ads could appear in suitable business, game or medical apps, getting closer to a particluar target market. Once, the service is up and running, it will be able to provide a breakdown of devices reach, to give the advertisers a closer look at the success of campaigns and other analytics.

Google claims that the AdMob network reaches 350 million mobile devices and runs on some 300,000 mobile apps. With mobile and tablet use rocketing ever-higher these numbers will only rise as mobile becomes the go-to format for advertisers in future.

On (Or Off) the Map

You might still be getting over the excitement of the new Google Maps app, but it seems the company may finally be getting over the trouble with Street View, with legal battles that has been going back years finally being resolved.

The latest to settle their issues with Street View is the normally placid Swiss government, which has ordered modifications based on privacy concerns. Reported in the New York Times, this could be among the last of the cases, in Europe anyway, against the company.

It allows Google to keep on using Maps in Switzerland, but will place restrictions on what can be shown, with respect to whatever is over citizen’s garden walls, hedges and the like. Key is that the government accepted a 99% blurring of faces and car registration plates, not the 100% that the country’s information regulator was seeking.

Your Trusted Store?

Online shopping is pretty much automatic for the Web generation, and a happy experience for many. However, there are still lots of users who feel concerned about security and getting their purchses safely when shopping online. Google has announced its Trusted Stores program to help calm those user’s nerves.

Available for free to all U.S. online merchants, the badge scheme has been tested for some months now. When shopping online, the user sees the Google Trusted Store badge, which provides a grading for that seller’s shipping and service feedback.

With many stores already on some kind of approval scheme, be it part of eBay, Amazon or tied to a credit card brand, there isn’t much new in this, but everything that helps build consumer confidence is a positive move.

Chrome Goes Metro

Anyone worrying about being forced to use Internet Explorer on Windows 8 Metro, need not worry as both Google’s Chrome and rival Firefox are both headed to the platform. On the Chromium blog, they say an early version will appear in the next update, which will run with Windows 8′s basic functions, but will be developed in the months up to launch to be a smoother, smarter browser. Remember, this will only work on Windows 8, Windows RT is very Microsoft’s domain and it won’t allow other browsers to run on that OS, yet.

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Article source: http://www.cmswire.com/cms/customer-experience/a-week-in-google-admob-joins-adwords-chrome-hits-windows-8-metro-and-more-015979.php

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04 Jun 12 ASUS to preinstall Bluestacks on PCs: Android on Windows


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James’ writing has appeared in many print publications: Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine, Information Week and Laptop Magazine to name a few. James’ coverage of the mobile technology sector has regularly appeared in the New York Times, Salon.com and CNN/ Fortune online. Not just a writer, James has filmed numerous video reviews and how-tos that have garnered well over a million viewers. He has appeared on local news segments and been interviewed by the Associated Press on mobile technology topics. Additionally, James has been podcasting about mobile technology for years.

Article source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/asus-to-preinstall-bluestacks-on-pcs-android-on-windows/8033

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29 May 12 Facebook Working On Its Own Smartphone?


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Image credit: Facebook

Facebook continues to beef up its mobile strategy — just last week it launched a dedicated Facebook camera app and it has recently acquired mobile app companies, including Instagram and Glancee. But according to The New York Times, Facebook is aiming bigger than apps that run on the iPhone or Android phones. It might just release its own smartphone.

According to the New York Times’ anonymous sources, Facebook is preparing to release a phone by next year.

“The company has already hired more than half a dozen former Apple software and hardware engineers who worked on the iPhone, and one who worked on the iPad, the employees and those briefed on the plans said,” Nick Bilton of the New York Times reported on Sunday.

Previously other technology sites have reported similar Facebook phone speculation. In 2010, TechCrunch reported that Facebook was looking to create its own phone. Late last year, AllThingsD reported that a phone codenamed “Buffy” was being tested. The Times now reports that Facebook continues to work on the “Buffy” phone and has hired numerous hardware engineers, many of which are former Apple employees. According to the Times’ sources, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want Facebook to be just another app that runs on a phone.

Facebook would not comment directly on the statement and instead referred the Times  to a previous statement. ”We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers.” Last year, HTC released the HTC Status, an Android phone that offered a deeper Facebook experience with dedicated Facebook buttons.

According to Facebook’s IPO filing, out of its total 825 million users, 488 million actively accessed Facebook’s mobile products in March. And with that, you can see why a Facebook phone might seem pretty appealing to the newly public company.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/05/facebook-working-on-its-own-smartphone/

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28 May 12 Android and iPhone Possibly Getting New Smartphone Competition


Android and iPhone Possibly Getting New Smartphone Competition

When it comes to the smartphone arena you think of Android, iPhone, or Blackberry.  However, social network giant Facebook, which recently has just come off a mixed result IPO, may actually be jumping into the smartphone arena soon.  According to a recent report in the New York Times, unnamed sources and even potential Facebook recruits were told that the company will soon be coming out with their own smartphone.

Facebook, which was a privately held company for many years recently opened up it’s stock to the public launching a huge IPO on May 18th 2012.  It had a bag of mixed results, with most analysts calling the stock underachieved.  Most analysts will agree that Facebook should have launched an IPO much sooner, bringing it’s social network popularity with them to the table.  That brings us back to new growth arenas for Facebook which might be under more stress now then ever before to jump into new sectors to continue building the company.

Android like the Apple iPhone, have been flourishing in the smartphone business raking in customers and profits.  Samsung, one of the leaders in Android powered smartphones, recently released news of their latest phone with a larger screen.  Apple has been rumored recently to be working with Asian manufacturers to design a 4 inch screen for their soon to be released  iPhone 5.   Speaking of Apple, according to the New York Times, Facebook has been hiring or at least tried to hire experts who had worked on the iPhone previously.

Rumors that Facebook has been working on a smartphone have been circulating since 2010 when Techcrunch reported they were privately planning and designing a smartphone in the future.  Facebook, when asked about these rumors, responded with

Our mobile strategy is simple:  we think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social.

So with the debut of the latest iPhone rumored to be occurring later this year, and with Samsung and HTC releasing powerful Android powered smartphones, is there room for yet another smartphone?  Considering smartphones are a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, there is plenty of room for more iPhone and Android competition.

 

Article source: http://www.therealestatemedia.com/android-and-iphone-possibly-getting-new-smartphone-competition-2537.html

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11 Feb 12 Chrome for Android — best mobile browser


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James’ writing has appeared in many print publications: Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine, Information Week and Laptop Magazine to name a few. James’ coverage of the mobile technology sector has regularly appeared in the New York Times, Salon.com and CNN/ Fortune online. Not just a writer, James has filmed numerous video reviews and how-tos that have garnered well over a million viewers. He has appeared on local news segments and been interviewed by the Associated Press on mobile technology topics. Additionally, James has been podcasting about mobile technology for years.

Article source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-news/chrome-for-android-best-mobile-browser/6775

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11 Jan 12 Google's Chrome Ads Violate Google's Ad Rules


There may be some reasonable explanations, but ultimately it’s pretty clear that Google violated its own link buying policies with a recent campaign for Google Chrome. Yesterday, SEO Book’s Aaron Wall discovered that Google search for “This post is sponsored by Google Chrome” brings up a host of blogs paid to talk up the browser, including a link and linked video commercial of the product — without following Google’s own paid-link rules. To add insult, these posts, which often read like @Wendi_Deng’s tweets, defy Google’s moral stance on low-quality link baiting to boost search rankings. (Think: Demand Media.) Unruly Media, the company that worked with Google on this campaign, has an explanation for the scandal, reasoning to AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka that the paid links violation was a one-time oversight that Google fixed. “We don’t ask bloggers to link to the advertiser’s site. It’s just not part of our business model,” he told Kafka. “We help advertisers distribute video content and that’s what we get paid for.” Google is allowed to sponsor posts. But, that doesn’t address the hypocrisy of the accompanying content. 

Related: Not Everyone Happy with Woody’s ‘It Get’s Better’ Ad

There are two big problems Google should have with Google’s ad campaign. It’s not so much that Google pays bloggers to talk up Chrome and insert its heartwarming video, which just got a big write-up in yesterday’s New York Times. But, when referencing Chrome these posts either slip in a link, the Chrome ad, or both. And, as discovered by Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan, some of these links manipulate search results by not including a “nofollow” tag or redirecting to a third party site — which Google’s paid links rules require. In other words, the posts trick Google’s algorithm into upping Google Chrome’s search rank — something on which Google itself has taken a strong stance

Related: Android’s Browser Leaves the iPhone’s in the Dust

Then, the other issue has to do with the content accompanying the video campaign. Google has made a big to do about burying sites with garbage text. These discovered posts aren’t exactly elegant. An example from an offending blogger:

Having a small business, I have found Google to be a key element in getting my business out to the world wide community. I have put so much money into advertisements on various sites and my analytics have always shown that Google is still the top referrer to my business. After hundreds of dollars invested, that said a lot to me and so I began to invest a lot of time into SEO. As a small business, my voice is bigger and better because of Google. It takes me from just being a local business to working with clients world wide.

Google Chrome helped this small business in Vermont go global. What can Google Chrome do for your future?

That post came with a direct link to a Google Chrome download, sans “nofollow” tag as well as a Google Chrome video ad without redirecting to YouTube, but to the Chrome download site. And plenty of other posts like it come as top search results for “Google Chrome Benefits,” notes Sullivan. 

Related: Why Is Google Called Topeka?

Google has a strict zero tolerance stance on buying search rankings. For similar offenses, the company penalized JC PenneyForbesOverstock, and even Google Japan, pushing their search rankings down for gaming the system. Though Unruly Media’s CEO Scott Button defends the rule violation as a one-time issue. Google still did it. As of right now, the number one Google result for “Google Chrome” surfaces a link to the browser download page. For others in similar situations Google has suspended their Google rankings, or pushed them down altogether — it even with Google Japan and BeatThatQuote, a company it owns. For now Chrome still sits on top of search results. 

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/googles-chrome-ads-violate-googles-ad-rules-170742984.html

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04 Jan 12 Google’s Chrome Ads Violate Google’s Ad Rules


There may be some reasonable explanations, but ultimately it’s pretty clear that Google violated its own link buying policies with a recent campaign for Google Chrome. Yesterday, SEO Book’s Aaron Wall discovered that Google search for “This post is sponsored by Google Chrome” brings up a host of blogs paid to talk up the browser, including a link and linked video commercial of the product — without following Google’s own paid-link rules. To add insult, these posts, which often read like @Wendi_Deng’s tweets, defy Google’s moral stance on low-quality link baiting to boost search rankings. (Think: Demand Media.) Unruly Media, the company that worked with Google on this campaign, has an explanation for the scandal, reasoning to AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka that the paid links violation was a one-time oversight that Google fixed. “We don’t ask bloggers to link to the advertiser’s site. It’s just not part of our business model,” he told Kafka. “We help advertisers distribute video content and that’s what we get paid for.” Google is allowed to sponsor posts. But, that doesn’t address the hypocrisy of the accompanying content. 

Related: Not Everyone Happy with Woody’s ‘It Get’s Better’ Ad

There are two big problems Google should have with Google’s ad campaign. It’s not so much that Google pays bloggers to talk up Chrome and insert its heartwarming video, which just got a big write-up in yesterday’s New York Times. But, when referencing Chrome these posts either slip in a link, the Chrome ad, or both. And, as discovered by Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan, some of these links manipulate search results by not including a “nofollow” tag or redirecting to a third party site — which Google’s paid links rules require. In other words, the posts trick Google’s algorithm into upping Google Chrome’s search rank — something on which Google itself has taken a strong stance

Related: Android’s Browser Leaves the iPhone’s in the Dust

Then, the other issue has to do with the content accompanying the video campaign. Google has made a big to do about burying sites with garbage text. These discovered posts aren’t exactly elegant. An example from an offending blogger:

Having a small business, I have found Google to be a key element in getting my business out to the world wide community. I have put so much money into advertisements on various sites and my analytics have always shown that Google is still the top referrer to my business. After hundreds of dollars invested, that said a lot to me and so I began to invest a lot of time into SEO. As a small business, my voice is bigger and better because of Google. It takes me from just being a local business to working with clients world wide.

Google Chrome helped this small business in Vermont go global. What can Google Chrome do for your future?

That post came with a direct link to a Google Chrome download, sans “nofollow” tag as well as a Google Chrome video ad without redirecting to YouTube, but to the Chrome download site. And plenty of other posts like it come as top search results for “Google Chrome Benefits,” notes Sullivan. 

Related: Why Is Google Called Topeka?

Google has a strict zero tolerance stance on buying search rankings. For similar offenses, the company penalized JC PenneyForbesOverstock, and even Google Japan, pushing their search rankings down for gaming the system. Though Unruly Media’s CEO Scott Button defends the rule violation as a one-time issue. Google still did it. As of right now, the number one Google result for “Google Chrome” surfaces a link to the browser download page. For others in similar situations Google has suspended their Google rankings, or pushed them down altogether — it even with Google Japan and BeatThatQuote, a company it owns. For now Chrome still sits on top of search results. 

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/googles-chrome-ads-violate-googles-ad-rules-170742984.html

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