I’ll stick with Google Maps thanks

A quick comparison of central Wellington as depicted in Google Maps (on a Nexus S running Jelly Bean 4.1.1) and in the new Apple Maps (on a 4th Gen iPod Touch running iOS6) that got released yesterday.

First up, Google Maps:

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And now Apple Maps:

Well, if you like it simple I guess and don’t care about all that messy detail! 😛

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OK, how about satellite imagery. Again Wellington, at the intersection of Molesworth St and Lambton Quay near the central bus station and Parliament buildings…

Google Maps (and not at full zoom I might add – I can enlarge this more, but chose this scale for a similar scale comparison with Apple):

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Apple Maps (close to full zoom before losing imagery):

Yikes – that’s a tad blurry!

Now since I had more layer info displayed in the Google Map, here’s the same area in Apple Maps with the Hybrid option turned on:

Hmmm, no thanks – terrible info overlay.

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So, I think that’s pretty convincing. Google Maps is an excellent offering. Apple, not so much! The new iOS maps lack detail while satellite imagery and the hybrid option both at full zoom are poor. And of course if you want Street View imagery you’re now out of luck with Apple Maps. 😦

Needless to say, stories regarding the new maps are all over the tech news today, eg The Verge, Mashable, CNET, BBC

On a positive note however, this is Apple’s first release and Apple’s Maps will improve in time (hopefully soon!). In the meantime, I’d suggest using Google Maps in the browser – Chrome of course! 😉

And for some bonus reading, check out the following story from The Atlantic: How Google Builds Its Maps.

Nice 1st release Apple, but I’ll stick with Google Maps thanks.

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Safari vs Chrome on iOS

A little comparison on my 4th gen iPod Touch – Safari on the left, Chrome on the right:

Safari vs Chrome on iOS

Safari 0, Chrome 1. More page real estate ftw! ‘Nuf said.

Gmail UI gets a tweak

Just logged into Gmail and noticed the user interface has had a little update,

Note the row of buttons along the top.

A nice addition is a quicker method to label and archive a message. Previously you had to select a message, then use the “More actions” drop-down to label it, then click the “Archive” button. Now you can simply select the message, then use the “Move to” drop-down to label and move it in one swoop.

Thumbs up Google!

Hello Windows 7

Windows 7 is the next Microsoft Operating System (scheduled for release later this year) and is now available for testing as a public beta. I grabbed it yesterday and now have it running in a virtual machine on my Vista PC.

So far, I like what I see. The most noticeable change from Vista right away is the behaviour of the taskbar and quick launch toolbar which have been combined into one. In default mode, the buttons next to the Start Menu can now represent both shortcuts and running programs, which is kind of what macs do and not something I’m fond of. I think this will confuse a lot of people, but it can be changed easily if you don’t like it.

So, what does it look like? Pretty much like Vista really, with some changes to the UI in places (for the better). Here’s some little screenshots as a teaser – although not quite as fancy as they could be as the glassy aero user interface isn’t available inside a VM.

Default desktop:

Click through for the rest of the set…

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Christmas Decorated Websites

With only 6 sleeps until Christmas, here’s a look at some kiwi websites that have added Christmas decorations. Santa hats adorning logos seem to be popular, but some have gone a little further…

NZ Post:

Kiwibank:

The Warehouse:

Dick Smith Electronics:

Ascent Technology:

Vodafone:

Telecom:

Mitre 10:

TradeMe: (changes daily)

Stuff.co.nz:

Mighty Ape:

Yahoo!Xtra: (animated)

Hitwise:

House of Travel:

Got any others I should include?

Sneak Peek Out Back

A week ago WordPress updated to v2.7 with a major overhaul of the backend interface for bloggers.

If you’re curious, here’s a sneak peek at a couple of screens I see and use behind the scenes…

The Dashboard,

And the “Add New Post” page,

For a complete list of features and changes, check out the WordPress.com blog and for a video introduction and some history head over to the WordPress.org Development blog.

Google Reader updated

My Google Reader interface got a refreshed look this morning, in fact it only just went live in the last couple of hours.

I must say the new look is pretty – very pretty, and in typical Google style it remains simple and functional. The Official Google Reader blog has a post detailing the changes.

This follows a theme update for Gmail a couple of weeks ago. I decided to stick with the “default” theme which is a little different to the old “classic” and looks like this,

Again, the Official Gmail blog detailed the changes at the time.

Thanks Google. Rock on!