Here’s a bit of a surprise that slipped under the radar during the Google I/O keynote: Google Earth for Android has been updated to 7.0 to take advantage of the new 3D map technology it unveiled at another special event just a few weeks ago. As a refresher, the visuals are automatically created from 45-degree aerial imagery and can pick up 3D elements as subtle as trees. Before you go racing to your hometown to see how it looks in 3D, be aware that just a handful of cities and regions exploit that dimension. Besides San Francisco Bay, the full coverage extends to Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Lawrence, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Cruz and Tampa in the US, with Rome being the lone international hotspot. If that’s too few places to visit, there’s always the addition of guided tours. Android users can head over Google Play to get the update today; iOS users shouldn’t fret, as they’ll get the new maps soon.
Looks like they didn’t print the banner out for nothing — as anticipated, it’s not just refreshed MacBook Airs or Mountain Lion getting the red carpet treatment at today’s World Wide Developer’s Conference keynote. Cupertino has also taken the shiny cling wrap off of the latest version of iOS. What’s new? Well at least 200 things! Most notably, Siri has gotten a little make over, including the ability to launch apps, more knowledge of sports, restaurants and movie times, it’s also coming to iPad. There’s better Facebook integration too, with photos, websites, maps and more getting the instant share option — you can even “like” or share app from the Appstore. Other tweaks on the phone side of things let you dismiss incoming calls with a swipe, or send a pre-written SMS, even set it to give you a reminder once you change location.
Another popular feature will be “Do Not Disturb” which holds off all those notifications (from your new Facebook friends, we guess). You’ll still get them, but the won’t alert, or light up the screen. Face-timers will also be pleased to see that feature finally working over cellular. Sharing images also just got easier with shared Photo Streams — choose the pictures, choose the friends. Done. New “Guided Access” allows parents or teachers (for example) to keep users from exiting an app accidentally (or in the case of the teachers — intentionally!). More info and PR after the break.
As we’d already been speculating, Apple has developed its own maps app, with more than 100 million businesses already integrated. There will be live traffic information (sourced in real-time anonymously from iOS users) and turn-by-turn navigation in the works. Directions will be visible from the lock screen, and you can — of course — use Siri to get them. There are vector-based 3D maps (just like Google’s) when you zoom in close,
Wondering if and when you can get these features? Well, it’s supported by iPhone 3GS and upwards, that includes the second and third generation iPads, plus fourth-gen iPod touches. Beta is going out today, with a full release in the fall.