Google contract waived for one year while iOS 6 Maps app introduced

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Date: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012, 08:12
Category: News, Software

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Well, this is a bit awkward.

Per the New York Times and The Verge, a report on Tuesday claims Apple had over one year left on its contract with Google Maps when it made the decision to replace the app with a proprietary solution, leaving the internet search giant with little time to develop a standalone version capable of running on iOS 6.

The newspaper has confirmed with its own sources that Google is indeed building a maps app, however the software will likely not be available for months as the company was “caught off guard” when Apple announced iOS Maps. Google Maps for iOS will possibly be released by the end of the year.

According to two separate sources familiar with the matter, the decision to replace Google Maps came shortly before Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, meaning Google had a short window with which to build a new iOS app. The sources go on to say the standalone Google Maps is largely incomplete and will not ship for “several months,” according to the story on The Verge.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said as much in a short interview on Tuesday, revealing that the company has “not done anything yet” in terms of submitting an standalone app to Apple.

As for Apple’s decision to ditch Google’s mapping service, Schmidt said, “What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It’s their call.”

Apple’s proprietary mapping solution was introduced at WWDC, with iOS chief Scott Forstall touting the app’s turn-by-turn directions, crowd-sourced traffic data, Siri integration and 3D Flyover capabilities. The company was also said to be handling the cartography in house in its bid to replace Google Maps, a bold undertaking given Google’s service has been continuously fine-tuned over the past decade.

The move to introduce a totally new mapping system with iOS 6 and the new iPhone 5 was reportedly a result of the disparity of features between the Android and iOS versions of Google Maps. One key feature was free turn-by-turn directions, something that Google has been including in its Android OS for years.

In a bid to upstage Apple’s announcement, Google announced the “next dimension” of Google Maps a few days prior to WWDC. The new feature turned out to be similar to Apple’s Flyover and offers 3D renderings of certain large metropolitan areas.

When it was released last week alongside iOS 6, Apple’s new iOS Maps met a flood of criticism from users who complained of incorrect positioning data, poor routing and Flyover rendering issues. Perhaps most troubling was the lack of features users had become accustomed to with Google Maps, such as Street View, highly-detailed map data and public transit routes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox 1.5.34 beta goes live, now available for download

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Date: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012, 08:46
Category: News, Software

You can’t argue with a good beta.

On Wednesday, Dropbox released a public beta of version 1.5.34 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 24.2 megabyte download, which adds the following fixes and changes:

– New Dropbox menu on the desktop client.

– This feature is not localized in languages other than English.

– It is only enabled on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and above

– The button to quit Dropbox has been relocated to the Preferences window.

– Tooltips are not supported inside the popup.

– Screen readers or assistive devices are not compatible with the popup.

– Other small bug fixes.

Dropbox 1.5.34 requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new beta and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome updated to 22.0.1229.79

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Date: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012, 08:32
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a decent update.

Late Tuesday, Google released a beta of version 22.0.1229.79 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 44 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Mouse Lock API availability for Javascript.

– Additional Windows 8 enhancements.

– Continued polish for users of HiDPI/Retina screens.

Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.