Tag Archives: location_services

Waze social GPS updates Android and resets privacy

Waze social GPS

I love the Waze app on my Android and use it regularly for live and social traffic.  I mentioned how it is working with iOS and the maps update only weeks ago.  But it seems that the new Waze update constantly resets your privacy (like invisibility) settings and is causing crashing on numerous devices.  Some have reported that totally uninstalling and reinstalling the over 12mb application has solved it while others are writing reviews nothing has been done.

Other complains in the update include:

  • too much real estate being used for routing compared to the live map
  • landscape not working anymore until an uninstall and reinstall is completed
  • night versus day mode stopped working

Facebook integration has also been included with the following features:

Connect to Facebook to see who else is headed where you are, along with each person’s arrival time.

When you arrive, get the status on who’s inside, and who’s still on the way. Even drop a parking pin to share your parking spot with friends.

They also added the ability to show anyone your live path, much like Glympse. This allows people to watch and time your arrival.  You have to turn this on and share that exact trip, it is not a global or always on feature.

More enhancements include saving and sharing you parking space and something I am finding useful, being able to pick someone up. They simple share where they are inside of Waze and you get navigated to them.  This is quite helpful when driving to not have to type in an address or if they do not know where they are.

If you are totally new or unaware of Waze I will summarize for you.  Real-time traffic and maps enhanced by others driving the same routes as you so you are aware of slowdowns, traffic, police, accidents and hazards.  The app is free to use and download and works better the more you use it and the more users in your area exist.  Waze has a live map where you can see people sharing their locations and driving publicly and all of the items that are reported across the roads.

Waze published a video with a demo of the new features as shown below

GIve it a try and let me know what you think.  Yes I am IdoNotes on there as well.

SxSW Live : 5Degrees and Forecast app reviews

5Degrees and Forecast

Paul Steel and Chris Miller at SxSW 2012 in Austin, TX sit live in the Samsung Blogger Lounge to cover the apps 5Degrees and Forecast.

We were happy with 5Degrees and impressed with the team that we met while there. They put a lot of effort into the product and have been releasing updates regularly. As for Forecast, we have mixed feelings still as they continue to grow. I think we see more for the app that hasn’t been delivered yet and we hope shows up to have us use it more often.

Do not forget to catch up with all the SxSW app review videos on YouTube from Spiked Studio and Living Life Mobile.

Nokia finally merges location service Plazes into Maps service with Nokia Pulse

I was a long time user of  an early pioneer location-based site Plazes dating back to July 2005.  Then in 2008 the announcement was made that the acquisition of Plazes was made by Nokia  After absorbing their 13 or so employees it still functioned but became very dormant.  I would have thought Nokia would jump on the opportunity to integrate an existing location-based service into their phones directly. Instead I watched it languish.

It seems that recent announcements points to Nokia Maps for Plazes data.  Unfortunately I cannot find a single piece of it.  Locations are muddled, past reviews and check-ins seem to be non-existent.  So I found a tiny link for their Pulse beta.

What is Nokia Pulse?

Nokia Pulse is an exciting new way to check in with the people you care about most—your family and close friends.

Nokia Pulse automatically tags the photos, updates, and links you send with your location. So every conversation, from pickups and drop-offs to meet-ups, is as instant, private, and simple as sending a text, but far more useful and engaging.

And because it’s integrated with Nokia Maps, finding people nearby, discovering new places, and getting directions is a snap.

Pulse only runs on very specific phones and a mobile web interface for the rest.  Windows Phone  7 was the first choice listed.  You must have a Nokia account to use the service so it would have been nice if they ported over my login information and history into Pulse from Plazes.  it appears they had no intent.  With almost 1200 Plazes across 12 countries I have a lot of historical data there.

Plazes service Radar also appears in Pulse showing you close locations and people based on your contact list.  Once again I have to rebuild this in the Nokia Maps world so I have lost all of that connectivity.

Attempts the last few weeks to log into Plazes to see if I can export the data in some format return a single sad screen:

We are making the service better to handle your request the way you expected. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Check back in a minute or two.

Shame on Nokia for not taking advantage of an existing user base and historical data.

Dear Foursquare, get rid of points, add partnerships and suggestions

As an avid user, fan and subscriber to Foursquare and the future of location services Foursquare logoI am both a promoter of the site while being a constant reviewer of functionality.

When Foursquare launched the leaderboard was the place to see how you ranked against other early adopters.  You often did not have a long or strong friend list to compete against and badges were very new.  Swarms were hard to come by.

Now badges are gaining traction with some even competing for the number of accumulated badges.  Points are slowly becoming obsolete.  I want Foursquare to stay ahead of the pack and deprecate points and begin placing better partners and perks.

The AMEX weekend for small business was a marketing hit.  Coupons at local restaurants is a huge bonus and keeps people coming back.  Rewards for verified mayorships are harder to find and should be a growth area.

What I need from a location service is the building of recommendations built around my learned check-in behavior.  Learn the tags of types of places, areas they are in and begin expanding my circle.  Pick something outside the normal radius, suggest adjacent type tags of foods or activities.

Become not only a place for me to say where I am, but a place to look for the next place to visit.  I use Foursquare to not only announce my location for on the fly meet-ups, events or fun, but I began long ago to use the service to place markers on places I really liked and want to visit again in the future. (I wish they would buy sub-services like Foodspotting to match what I like at the locations I check into).

Foursquare has become an event logging, taste building and location service.  I am only giving suggestions to maintain the growth and usage before something else comes along that scoops that part up.