Google Maps Now Lets You Search For Stops Mid-Route

What Happened
The latest update to the Google Maps Android app quietly added a new feature that lets users find places to stop along the current route. Now you can search for gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and more mid-route without leaving the navigation mode, and Google will show you results that are relatively close to the path you’re currently on.

What Brands Need To Do
With the addition of this new feature, Google is effectively adding hyperlocal search to in-car navigations, while also laying down the foundation for monetization opportunities, presumably in the form of sponsored pit stops. Local businesses could benefit greatly from this new feature, so it is important to get your store location and other relevant information properly indexed by Google.  


Source: The Verge

Apple Acquires Coherent Navigation For Better Location Service

Read original article on: The Verge

Coherent Navigation, a San Francisco-based company specializing in high-accuracy GPS and navigation technologies, has been acquired by Apple, joining the long list of mapping and navigation startups that the Cupertino company has bought recently, which includes LocationaryEmbarkHop StopWifiSLAM, and BroadMap.

No specific details of the acquisition have surfaced so far, so it remains unclear whether the acquisition was primarily for talent or technology. However, given the specialty of Coherent Navigation, it is safe to assume that Apple is looking to improve its location services, which includes the faulty Apple Maps but also extends to all other apps that utilizes GPS services in iOS system.

For brands, an improved system-wide location service would mean more accurate proximity-based targeting, which would result in great marketing opportunities to better serve the consumers in hyperlocal markets.

Why Uber Is Buying Its Own Mapping Solution

Read original story on: Mashable

Uber has confirmed that it is acquiring the mapping and search startup deCarta for an unspecified amount.  Uber’s functionality relies on accurate locating and mapping technologies, and this acquisition seems to signal the company’s first step toward decreasing its dependence on the mapping services provided by Google and Apple.

This isn’t the first time that Uber has shown its interests in developing its own mapping system. Previously, Uber was reportedly planning to integrate Baidu Map for users in China through Baidu’s strategic investment. In light of recent news that both Google and Apple are developing their own car technologies, Uber might is clearly looking to step up its mapping game, starting with this acquisition.

Ford To Support Third Party Nav App With AppLink 3.0

Read original story on: Gigaom

Ford unveiled the newest update of its AppLink system, and one key highlight is its capability to support third-party navigation apps, including Google Maps, Waze, or even Apple Maps, if that’s what you prefer. As most automakers tend to limit in-car navigation to their own embedded OEM nav systems, Ford’s move here will not only save its customers a few bucks on subscription fees, it also points to a more platform-neutral future for connected cars.

Global Watch: What Baidu’s $600M Investment Would Mean For Uber

Despite the storm of controversies surrounding its privacy policy and a string of recent PR crisis, Uber still managed to raise an impressive $1.2 billion in funding earlier this month. Last week it was reportedly set to receive up to $600 million investment from China’s Google, Baidu Inc., presumably for its long-rumored expansion into the Asian market. Today Baidu has confirmed its investment.

Why Baidu Wants Uber

The Chinese ride-on-demand market is currently dominated by Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, respectively backed by Alibaba and Tencent. Up until this point, Baidu is the only one out of the BAT— Baidu-Alibaba-Tencent, a popular acronym in China denoting their dominance as top Internet companies—that has been holding off on entering the burgeoning market. By bringing in Uber, Baidu would not have to build a ride-hailing app from scratch, but would  instead use Uber’s well-built app and mature infrastructure to compete with its rivals.

Additionally, Baidu is most likely hoping that Uber would improve the lukewarm performance of its mobile payment app, Baidu Wallet, so as to compete with Alipay, the formidable digital payment system backed by Alibaba, or even WeChat Wallet, embedded by Tencent in its massively popular messaging app.

Why Uber Needs Baidu More

For Uber, investment from Baidu would mean it might finally be getting the localization it desperately needs to conquer the much-coveted Chinese market. Beijing, for example, only has around 66,000 licensed cabs at service for its vast population of over 20 million. The Alibaba-backed Kuaidi app alone posted online payment revenue of $2 billion over the past year. And Uber could definitely use Baidu’s massive local clout to navigate this huge, yet highly regulated market. One more benefit for Uber is the integration of Baidu Map. Google Map, which Uber currently uses for across all markets, isn’t the best on the market, similar to Apple Map here in the US.

The Bottom Line

Baidu needs Uber as a convenient proxy to make its long-awaited first move in the on-demand car market, just as much as Uber needs Baidu’s local dominance and expertise. The market might already be congested considering the two local apps from formidable rivals have taken off, but with Baidu’s help, Uber’s ride into the Chinese market might just get significantly less bumpy.

Photo courtesy of Uber

Google Maps For iOS Hands-On

Apple continued its mapping walk of shame yesterday as Google Maps rocketed to the top free app spot in the app store on its first night.  The lesson to be learned here is that while you may want to crush your competitors and limit their real estate on your device, you better be able to back that up with a great equivalent product.  If you don’t, it’s bound to backfire.