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Google unveils new 3D maps coming to iOS and Android

post #1 of 94
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Google on Wednesday unveiled what it has promoted as the "next dimension" of its Maps service, with new full 3D renderings for Google Earth that were demonstrated live on an Apple iPad.

Google has been using automated technology to extract data from aerial models captured by airplanes owned by the company. With planes flying overhead in tightly controlled patterns snapping pictures, Google can use the imagery and data to create three-dimensional mapping imagery.

Images of the ground are snapped from 45 degrees at four angles, and those pictures and data can be combined to recreate maps in three dimensions. The whole process allows 3D maps to be built without human interaction, unlike with previous 3D imagery in Google Earth.

In a live event on Wednesday, Google demonstrated 3D models of individual buildings and entire cities. The new features were shown off to members of the press on an Apple iPad, rather than an Android-based tablet.

The company promised that its new 3D imagery will be coming to both iOS and Android devices "in the coming weeks." The technology will be part of both the Google Maps service, as well as its Google Earth application.



By the end of the year, Google expects to have communities home to about 300 million people mapped in its new space.

Google also revealed that it will bring an offline version of its Maps software to Android devices. The company said it is "working very hard" to bring offline Maps to iOS as well, but did not offer any more information.

Google 3D Maps
Google Maps 3D demo on iPad, via The Verge.


Wednesday's media event comes just five days before Apple is set to hold its own keynote address at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference. There, Apple is expected to unveil an all-new version of its Maps software for iOS that will ditch Google Maps.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Apple's new mapping technology will reach iOS later this year. It is expected that the all new native Maps application will be a part of iOS 6, Apple's anticipated next-generation mobile operating system.

Apple's mapping intentions have been evident since at least 2009, when the company began acquiring mapping technology companies. The iPhone maker bought Placebase that year and then Poly9 in 2010. Last year, Apple bought Swedish 3D-mapping company C3.
post #2 of 94

Didn't seem to me like they had much to really "unveal" here. They talked about the past more than they did about "whats coming". Thier app crashed about 4 times too... seems really thrown together.

 

Also they said the process is totally automated... I doubt the pilots that have to fly over every city on earth with a special camera think so.

post #3 of 94
Probably because it WAS thrown together to beat Apple out.

This could definitely take the wind out of Apple's iOS announcement sails. Seems like one of the biggest if not THE biggest feature of iOS is the 3D mapping.
post #4 of 94

Neat feature but didn't require a media event IMHO.

post #5 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filmantopia View Post

Probably because it WAS thrown together to beat Apple out.
This could definitely take the wind out of Apple's iOS announcement sails. Seems like one of the biggest if not THE biggest feature of iOS is the 3D mapping.


If that's the "wow" with iOS 6 I think it will be a bit of a letdown.  Especially if their new mapping app doesn't have turn by turn navigation.  Google unveiling this now, and on an iPad wasn't by accident.

post #6 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filmantopia View Post

Probably because it WAS thrown together to beat Apple out.
This could definitely take the wind out of Apple's iOS announcement sails. Seems like one of the biggest if not THE biggest feature of iOS is the 3D mapping.

So a thrown together demo of a feature that's been in beta for about a year and which crashed 4 times is going to take out the wind of what is likely to be an almost finished product (at least the parts demo'd would be) that is also likely to be well thought out?  What is reported as being shown at this 'event' certainly makes it seem a very defensive move by Google.

post #7 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlevolve View Post

Didn't seem to me like they had much to really "unveal" here. They talked about the past more than they did about "whats coming". Thier app crashed about 4 times too... seems really thrown together.

 

No joke. that they demo'd but aren't releasing any time soon and it was a pitiful demo just makes me feel like they slapped this together based on the rumors. 

 

which is not to say that I think they weren't working on something before. I'm sure they were but more for like next year. this reeks of them jumping the time table to say they were first

 

IF Apple is about to announce why all the map purchases they will have it ready to launch with iOS 6 if not sooner and it might not be as sexy looking at this but it will function and the sexy stuff will come later in typical Apple fashion. 

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #8 of 94
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Originally Posted by physguy View Post

So a thrown together demo of a feature that's been in beta for about a year and which crashed 4 times is going to take out the wind of what is likely to be an almost finished product (at least the parts demo'd would be) that is also likely to be well thought out?  What is reported as being shown at this 'event' certainly makes it seem a very defensive move by Google.

Yeah, if even just to take away the notion that Apple "invented" the tech, which so often is construed when Apple popularizes a feature.

Understandable, as Google has put so much work into it what with the planes in controlled patterns, etc.
post #9 of 94

Apple knows that it's Map app is pretty important to the success of the product or they would not be removing Googles service. I wasn't very impressed with what Google showed off. I'm looking forward to what Apple has in store.

 

As a side note, Google employees seem rather rude and egocentric. I dunno, just the feeling I got from the video.

post #10 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filmantopia View Post


Yeah, if even just to take away the notion that Apple "invented" the tech, that so often is construed when Apple popularizes a feature.

I don't think Apple really cares all that much about someone else producing an inferior product simultaneously.  The vast majority of Apple's customers don't pay attention to who invented what or when.  They just want something that is easy to use and works.  We haven't seen Apple's rendition of 3-D maps, but if it is fast, high resolution, and easy to use, Apple customers will gladly ditch Google.  If Google's product is better, Apple maps will be about as succesful as "Ping" or "MobileMe".

post #11 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filmantopia View Post

Probably because it WAS thrown together to beat Apple out.
This could definitely take the wind out of Apple's iOS announcement sails. Seems like one of the biggest if not THE biggest feature of iOS is the 3D mapping.

 

I doubt that it will take the wind out of Apple's announcement. Apple is not just adding a bit of 3D to their maps, they are integrating their new mapping technology into the core of IOS itself. The result is not just a "map," but a full-featured location based solution for any application or use case.



Consider this example, mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article: an appointment in your calendar is coming up soon and the software preemptively checks for traffic conditions around the location of the event. It can then notify you in advance so that you may plan your travel accordingly, it may suggest alternative routes, or it may offer to contact the coordinator to reschedule.



Now, can Google's 3D maps do that?

   -dZ.
post #12 of 94

Unless Apple's maps have turn-by-turn directions that automatically update to the next location and speak directions, it will be a complete failure and everyone will use this instead.

 

I think that sums up the argument about a new Maps app in iOS 6.

 

Quote:
an appointment in your calendar is coming up soon and the software preemptively checks for traffic conditions around the location of the event. It can then notify you in advance so that you may plan your travel accordingly, it may suggest alternative routes, or it may offer to contact the coordinator to reschedule.

 

Are you saying that an article about the assumed Apple mapping system said it will do that?

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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #13 of 94

The Google presentation was rushed as a Me-2 showing.

It's not gonna help much.  The 3D maps were not impressive. No special features, just pictures from a plane.

Wait for Apple on Monday.

 

Time will tell.
 

post #14 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post
The 3D maps were not impressive. No special features, just pictures from a plane.

 

That's what Apple's are.

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post #15 of 94
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Originally Posted by dzfoo View Post

 



Consider this example, mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article: an appointment in your calendar is coming up soon and the software preemptively checks for traffic conditions around the location of the event. It can then notify you in advance so that you may plan your travel accordingly, it may suggest alternative routes, or it may offer to contact the coordinator to reschedule.



Now, can Google's 3D maps do that?

   -dZ.

Can Apple's maps do that?

 

I remember the high hopes and predictions people had for Siri pre-release...and, while it is a cool feature, based on the predictions Siri is a dud.

post #16 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by dzfoo View Post
Now, can Google's 3D maps do that?

Since you brought it up, the real question is "Will Apple's 3D maps do that"?  

Or simply "might" [be able to], which was the only claim by the unnamed "person briefed on the strategy"?

post #17 of 94

Note to Google: FUD only works against smaller competitors, preferably startups, and preferably many months before you and they release your respective products.

 

Oh, and good luck getting Google Maps approved on the iOS App Store.

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post #18 of 94
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Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

 

No joke. that they demo'd but aren't releasing any time soon and it was a pitiful demo just makes me feel like they slapped this together based on the rumors. 

 

which is not to say that I think they weren't working on something before. I'm sure they were but more for like next year. this reeks of them jumping the time table to say they were first

 

IF Apple is about to announce why all the map purchases they will have it ready to launch with iOS 6 if not sooner and it might not be as sexy looking at this but it will function and the sexy stuff will come later in typical Apple fashion. 

That's a problem.  Google maps already functions and will soon look "sexier," as you put it.  If both companies' maps are equally functional but Google's look decidedly better then isn't Apple's maps a downgrade?

post #19 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

The Google presentation was rushed as a Me-2 showing.

It's not gonna help much.  The 3D maps were not impressive. No special features, just pictures from a plane.

Wait for Apple on Monday.

 

Time will tell.
 

uhhhh.....first of all, how can you me too a product that doesn't exist. Matter of fact, Apple very much seems to be me-tooing google maps. kinda like Samsung making an iphone knock-off with a few extra features, at the end of the day, its still a knock off. Sad apple feel they need to, but hey, whatever. BUt also remember

1. Google mpas has had 3d in one form or another for YEARS.

2. This 3d isn't a bird eye view still pic, it can be rotated and interacted with, like a a game. 

3. Content. Just the content from street view alone (streets, ski slopes, mountain treks, indoor buildings) would take apple years to do. Satellites and planes are all well and good, but even they can't give you mountain treks and indoor maps.

4. Lets not forget google sky and google ocean as well. They aren't just mapping cities, They are mapping the world, and by google sky, mapping the universe. 

 

Now, having said all this. What does the typical mobile maps user need?

Space maps? No

Ocean Maps? No

3d maps? cool to have, but no

street view of a back corner of a shady town part of vietnam? No

 

Turn by turn? yes

driving Routes? yes

biking routes? yes

traffic? yes

train, buses and walking routes? Yes

 

If apple just manage to focus on these five very basic things which most mapping services already do equally well (more or less at least in major cities) they should be fine. Everything else are cool things to have that you will never use in a mobile situation. 

post #20 of 94

I’d rather have TWO great mapping services competing on iOS than just one :) I believe very soon I will have my wish....

 

(And I’m betting I’ll use Google’s more than Apple’s at first... especially because I rely on Google transit directions and Street View. But after Apple’s system gets its feet under it may be another story!)

post #21 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Note to Google: FUD only works against smaller competitors, preferably startups, and preferably many months before you and they release your respective products.

 

Oh, and good luck getting Google Maps approved on the iOS App Store.

what does this have to do with anything?

 

Google didn't cast any fear, uncertainty or doubt towards Apple...and the entire boring presentation was speaking about the history of Google's mapping venture and a glimpse into the near future for both iOS and Android...

 

And Google Maps/Google Earth WILL be in the App Store...I'd bet on that.

post #22 of 94

It seems the expectations for either system are a tad too high. This is what 3D maps are. I have little doubt based the Apple/C3 take will be much different. There's no way this was 'thrown together." either. There's massive amounts of data to be collected and structured. It doesn't happen overnight. Google didn't have to re show navigation layered over it, they already offer that. They say they have over a Billion active users a month of maps, that's a heck of a data/crowd source of info. Apple doesn't half ass things, but they sure have a good sized hill to climb.

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post #23 of 94

Really the most exciting part of the announcement was the downloadable maps, not the 3d feature.

post #24 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Unless Apple's maps have turn-by-turn directions that automatically update to the next location and speak directions, it will be a complete failure and everyone will use this instead.

 

I think that sums up the argument about a new Maps app in iOS 6.

 

 

Are you saying that an article about the assumed Apple mapping system said it will do that?

 

I'd also like to see "turn-by-turn" functionality in Apple's maps, but this seems to be a crazy obsession for some people. Let's be realistic, the lack of this feature hasn't exactly impacted the iPhone's popularity so far, and it's silly to suggest Apple will have a "complete failure" without it.

post #25 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post

The Google presentation was rushed as a Me-2 showing.

It's not gonna help much.  The 3D maps were not impressive. No special features, just pictures from a plane.

Wait for Apple on Monday.

 

Time will tell.
 

 

Yep, pure premature technological penis envy.  Google's ego just needed to do a demo before Apple to have some form of internal plausible deniability of their solution just being a me-too.

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post #26 of 94

Apple better be on top of their game at WWDC.

If they release anything close to what has been "leaked" the company is in some serious trouble.

post #27 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baka-Dubbs View Post

Really the most exciting part of the announcement was the downloadable maps, not the 3d feature.

 

I agree, fun as 3d is, I just want turn bu turn when i go to europe without having to rent a GPS or use roaming data. 

 

3d maps on a (in the case of the iphone) 3.5" screen just seems pointless. Maybe one of the larger android phones it would make sense, but not iphone. 

 

May be better to have turn-by-turn interlaced with streetview. Now THAT would be amazing. You would see EXACTLY where to turn from the perpective of street view in real ti....... 

 

...........*Goes off to patent the idea before Apple does*

post #28 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiro View Post

 

Yep, pure premature technological penis envy.  Google's ego just needed to do a demo before Apple to have some form of internal plausible deniability of their solution just being a me-too.

Yeah, apple deciding to rip off google maps and make a maps app doesn't smack of me-too at all..........

Google has had 3d for years by the way, all they have done is bring it into a high res, rotate anywhere space. So tell me again, how is google 3d maps, which have been around for years, a me-too?

post #29 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Can Apple's maps do that?

 

I remember the high hopes and predictions people had for Siri pre-release...and, while it is a cool feature, based on the predictions Siri is a dud.

 

Siri has lots of room for improvement, but I find it very useful as-is. For dictating quick emails, text messages, reminders and to-do/shopping lists it easily beats thumb typing. 

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

post #30 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post

uhhhh.....first of all, how can you me too a product that doesn't exist. Matter of fact, Apple very much seems to be me-tooing google maps. kinda like Samsung making an iphone knock-off with a few extra features, at the end of the day, its still a knock off. Sad apple feel they need to, but hey, whatever. BUt also remember

1. Google mpas has had 3d in one form or another for YEARS.

2. This 3d isn't a bird eye view still pic, it can be rotated and interacted with, like a a game. 

3. Content. Just the content from street view alone (streets, ski slopes, mountain treks, indoor buildings) would take apple years to do. Satellites and planes are all well and good, but even they can't give you mountain treks and indoor maps.

4. Lets not forget google sky and google ocean as well. They aren't just mapping cities, They are mapping the world, and by google sky, mapping the universe. 

 

Now, having said all this. What does the typical mobile maps user need?

Space maps? No

Ocean Maps? No

3d maps? cool to have, but no

street view of a back corner of a shady town part of vietnam? No

 

Turn by turn? yes

driving Routes? yes

biking routes? yes

traffic? yes

train, buses and walking routes? Yes

 

If apple just manage to focus on these five very basic things which most mapping services already do equally well (more or less at least in major cities) they should be fine. Everything else are cool things to have that you will never use in a mobile situation. 

 

You miss on a lot there, only thinking of legacy uses.  Google Maps is not in the least way interactive, not game-like at all, none of the solutions are currently.  When the 3D actually becomes interactive you will have a completely different potential set of uses.  Augmented reality just being one of the more immediately useful, and unfortunately big targets for advertising.

 

The actual 3D part can also contribute to crowd sourcing textures from photos if the sharing/privacy issues can be worked out.  Street view is a tour de force of era 2000 database and serving technology, pretty pedestrian today.  Fully textured 3D will give far more information on less bandwidth and much less storage requirement.  

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post #31 of 94
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Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post



1. Google mpas has had 3d in one form or another for YEARS.

2. This 3d isn't a bird eye view still pic, it can be rotated and interacted with, like a a game. 

 

4. Lets not forget google sky and google ocean as well. They aren't just mapping cities, They are mapping the world, and by google sky, mapping the universe. 

 

 

Google has all this on mobile? (not the last time I checked...)

post #32 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That's what Apple's are.

If Apple used all of the capability of the SAAB military system they acquired there it is a lot more than that.
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post #33 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlevolve View Post

Didn't seem to me like they had much to really "unveal" here. They talked about the past more than they did about "whats coming". Thier app crashed about 4 times too... seems really thrown together.

 

Also they said the process is totally automated... I doubt the pilots that have to fly over every city on earth with a special camera think so.

 

The thing I can't understand is that the description of the technology sounds *exactly* like what Apple is doing and Apple's tech is based on a patented algorithm developed by the military.  Unless the description of what Apple is doing is wrong, we have to assume Apple made a giant dumbass move in buying the C3 tech?  How could Google have come up with the same algorithm or anything similar in such a short time?  

 

Something stinks here.  There's either a lawsuit in the making or Google is flat out lying about the capabilities of it's software.  

post #34 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post

 ... 

1. Google maps (sic) has had 3d in one form or another for YEARS.

 

...

Your misrepresenting the facts here.  The key term in your sentence is "one form or another."

 

The 3D tech that Google has been using is nothing like this at all.  They were using simple wireframe blocks for buildings and sticking photos over the top.  This is automatic 3D mapping exactly like the technology that Apple bought and something that as far as I am aware they have never used before.  

post #35 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baka-Dubbs View Post

Really the most exciting part of the announcement was the downloadable maps, not the 3d feature.

 

I think so too. 3D maps is meh, but downloadable maps is huge. I have switched to Open Street Maps from Google Maps when on the go just for that; now maybe I will not have to keep two apps on my phone...

post #36 of 94

"Google on Wednesday unveiled what it has promoted as the "next dimension" of its Maps service, with new full 3D renderings for Google Earth that were demonstrated live on an Apple iPad."

 

 

 

Ok.

 

 

 

*silence.*

 

 

 

 

*looks at watch*

 

 

 

 

 

Well. Time to get a bite to eat. 

post #37 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filmantopia View Post


Yeah, if even just to take away the notion that Apple "invented" the tech, which so often is construed when Apple popularizes a feature.
Understandable, as Google has put so much work into it what with the planes in controlled patterns, etc.

Apple didn't invent it, Google didn't invent it.  Poly9 certainly demoed this stuff first :P

post #38 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

That's what Apple's are.

 

Well, based on what C3 could do,  Apple's will support more viewing angles than 45 degrees.  More details via zooming, more layers and layers of information on the maps, more maps.

 

Time will tell.

post #39 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Can Apple's maps do that?

 

I remember the high hopes and predictions people had for Siri pre-release...and, while it is a cool feature, based on the predictions Siri is a dud.

 

I don't know if it will or not do that. However, this is more than a "prediction" taken from some random blog, but an actual researched article from a reputable newspaper, citing sources that actually worked on the project.


According to these sources, the purpose of the mapping software was not only to do "maps" but to offer location based services to all applications.


I can certainly imagine Apple doing something like that.


In any case, my point was not to add to the hype or to claim that Apple is better than Google, but to point out the differences in approaches, which is something that the WSJ article also mentions: rather than working on "maps," Apple wants to solve a bigger problem.


Google may also be aiming to do this, but I saw no indication of that in the presentation. It was mostly regarding the coolness of the 3D mapping technology, which is seriously cool, I admit.


   -dZ.

post #40 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post

That's a problem.  Google maps already functions and will soon look "sexier," as you put it.  If both companies' maps are equally functional but Google's look decidedly better then isn't Apple's maps a downgrade?

 

That's a very good point.  I have to admit that while I find Street View occasionally useful, and this 3D thing looks pretty cool, I like Google Maps because the standard 2D maps are so damn readable.  That's the thing that needs to be at least as good or better if an alternative to Google Maps is to do well.

 

Everything beyond the 2D maps is bells and whistles.....

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