Google Maps adds some new functionality

There’s been no big announcement but Google has added a couple of new features to the full-browser version of Maps.

Firstly, and most useful, is the layers function that allows users to do multiple searches and layer the results on top of one another in a colour-coded system. The example below shows a search for pubs and kebab shops around Upton Park, home of the mighty (yes, mighty) West Ham United:

New Pictussssse (7).jpg

For the record, if you’re planning on visiting Upton Park, I’d recommend a jar or two in The Duke of Edinburgh followed by a kebab from Kebabish.

The other new feature is the My Location button – which smartphone users will already be aware of. I can’t really see the point of it on a desktop version though. I suppose it may be useful if you’re out and about and lost with a netbook.

My Location will try work out your location based on Wi-Fi points nearby, or via your IP address. Neither is guaranteed to be accurate though. It didn’t work on my desktop here in TD Towers. I’m running Firefox 3.5 so I’m not sure why?

Does it work for you guys?

(via Search Engine Land)

Ofcom releases 3G coverage maps


Spare a thought for people living in Scotland or Wales, or if you live in Scotland or Wales spare a thought for yourself. The 3G coverage maps released by Ofcom show a distinct lack of a 3G network in those areas. In fact there is a distinct lack of coverage in any rural area in the UK.

The maps show that 3 is the network with the most 3G coverage, closely followed by Orange. O2 comes last – supporting our theory that O2 is, in fact, a bit rubbish.

Ofcom said: “For 3G network coverage there is still a noticeable difference between rural and urban areas, and also between different parts of the UK, with coverage problems a particular issue in the devolved nations.”

3G is becoming ever more important, especially with the new generation of smartphones which rely on good coverage and fast connections in order for their features and apps to run smoothly. The maps paint a bleak picture of a network that isn’t really supporting the smart devices.

What’s the answer? Well, see these related posts for possible alternatives and solutions: Will WiMax or LTE win out? | Femtocells – much more than a signal booster

(via The Press Association)

Google adds tube map to Google Maps


Google Maps launched its new ‘Transit’ section of Google Maps this morning, which focuses on public transport. Wonderfully, included in the update is a tube map that you can turn on and off on the display – immensely useful for planning ya route across the capital.

Be aware though – because it’s tied to real geographical locations, it might be a bit confusing, and not as intuitive as using the regular tube map. On the other hand, you might find out something useful, like how close Lancaster Gate (on the Central Line) is to Paddington, or Canon Street to Bank, saving you some trouble, and going miles out of your way to change tubes.

If you’ve got a local metro/tube/underground system of some sort, is it shown on Google’s new layer? Let us know in the comments. Now… if only Google would release street view in the UK…

Google Maps UK (via TechCrunch)

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Google Maps adds live traffic info for England


In all honesty, I thought this feature was already active, but then I don’t drive, so what do I know? Nothing, clearly. Anyway. The Google Maps team has added live traffic information to major roads in England. Just England – no Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland just yet.

If you enable this layer on your maps, it’ll tell you what traffic conditions are currently like, as well as predicting what traffic will be like at any particular day and time, based on past conditions. Nice, Google. Now roll out Street View, please.

Google Maps UK

Related posts: Google Maps for Mobile gets Street View and walking directions | Google planning offshore, tax-evading, auto-powering, floating data warehouses