Pandora debuts Thumbprint Radio, Google quietly adds offline navigation to Google Maps for iOS

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Streaming music service Pandora on Monday launched Thumbprint Radio, a new featured station that factors in all of a listener's previous upvotes across other stations. Google simultaneously brought one of its most requested features to Google Maps for iOS: offline navigation.

Thumbprint mixes in favorite tracks with new recommendations, Pandora explained. Typically the service's stations are spawned from a single artist or genre, and while they can evolve with up- or downvotes, they don't branch out too far unless a listener manually adds new criteria.

Pandora noted that Thumbprint won't appear unless a person has at least three existing stations with four upvotes each. Listeners can share their Thumbprints with each other, which will continue to evolve as their creators vote on songs.

The feature appears to be aimed directly at countering services like Apple Music and Spotify, both of which are venturing into the kind of personalized stations that were previously Pandora's domain. It may be particularly geared toward countering Spotify's "Discover Weekly," which serves a fresh selection of tracks each week based on a listener's overall listening habits.

Pandora is expected to venture into on-demand services in the near future, thanks to its $75 million takeover of Rdio. While it already enjoys a dominant position in the U.S. streaming market, on-demand content could allow it to cement that ranking against Apple, Spotify, and Google's Play Music.

Thumbprint Radio is available immediately in Pandora's Web and mobile apps, with no update necessary.

Google Maps for iOS gets offline navigation & more

The feature was covertly added to Google Maps' latest update, 4.13.0, and later confirmed by Google to VentureBeat. iOS users were previously able to view sections of maps offline, but can now get turn-by-turn routing as well. Both features were added to Android last month, but at the time Google would only say that iOS support was due soon.

The update's official additions include the ability to see popular hours at businesses and attractions, making it possible to avoid congestion. When hunting for gas stations, meanwhile, the app will display the latest prices in both map views and search results. The feature is, however, restricted to the U.S. and Canada.
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