back to article Google loses Latitude in Maps app shake-up

Google is rolling out an upgrade to its Android Maps app that redesigns local search, and adds dynamic traffic reports along with a partnership with reviewers at Zagat. But this comes with a cost; Latitude is being abruptly shut down 30 days from now, and Google says that "The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer …

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  1. Metrognome

    B0rked

    So offline maps are off (at least in their previous form), ditto we lose custom maps and to top it off latitude is gone.

    I use all of them professionally and they sure will be missed.

    Custom maps to share business trip details to all team members who arrive from different locations.

    Latitude for knowing in real time where all my team members (and family) are and offline maps for obvious reasons.

    And no, no amount of nudging, cajoling or threatening will make me join +. I'm sick of the constant deprivation of features for non + members.

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: B0rked

      I'm also miffed at Latitude's dissappearance. It is useful to find people, especially those asking for directions while driving. And as you, I won't ever join + and keep losing Google features every now and then.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: B0rked

        If those people you're helping all switch to + you still won't? Why's it matter which of their services owns your data?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: B0rked

          I don't know what the hell this 'Latitude' of which you speak is. Offline maps disappearing? Grr. I use it in places like Devon (poor signal) or France (too expensive to use data)- on home territory I don't need any maps. Apparently, the Google engineers weren't happy about it it either, and so it maps can still be cached by typing 'okay maps' into the search box. (I haven't upgraded or tested this myself).

          I tried to set my old man up on Open Maps on his tablet, but he was mistrustful after a vector error placed a lake over a road and town in Italy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available

            I guess the NSA only pays for live location data on people?

          2. hplasm Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: B0rked

            "I tried to set my old man up on Open Maps..."

            Are you the Cerne Abbas Giant?

            Devon was the clue...

            1. Christopher Blackmore

              The Giant

              ...isn't he in Dorset?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            OK Maps - Oklahomans will be pissed....

            Of course, now any Oklahomans who need to search for their local maps will be pissed...

            But seriously: Losing locally cached maps is STUPID - indeed, I want to see Google allow MORE caching; my phone has 6G of internal storage (in addition to the SD), and I know my N800 could store the entire US in under 3G, so let me cache however much I want to you idiots!.

            That's especially useful for allowing me to have navigation in the UK until I get where I am going and pick up my local SIM.

        2. Metrognome

          Re: B0rked @JDX

          Because google having my data (which are all fictitious since my account was opened back when you could have any username you liked) is one thing. Forcing me to have a public profile and insisting that not only do I effectively publish my data but I have to do this under my own name (or a real-looking one anyway).

          In fact if there really was no difference do you think google would persist with the "switch to g+" palaver instead of migrating every one to the new service? The only reason is that the T&C's are incompatible.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
            Boffin

            @Metrognome... Re: B0rked @JDX

            "Because google having my data (which are all fictitious since my account was opened back when you could have any username you liked) is one thing."

            Uhm you do realize that Google has had the ability to take your fake information and tie it to your real information, right?

            1. Metrognome

              Re: @Metrognome... B0rked @Ian

              Absolutely! I harbour no such illusions. The thing is though that's for Google to know. Under G+ it would be publicly accessible to all and sundry.

    2. Jonathan 29

      Re: B0rked

      I tried the 'OK Maps' thing on the new app to get offline maps and it kept directing me to Oklahoma. Quite possibly I was doing it wrong though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Same bluddy thing

        I now have a sodding map of Oklahoma. Is there actually anyone carrying out overall planning at Google, or is it all "do the clever thing you just thought up"?

    3. petur
      FAIL

      Re: B0rked

      What's worse is that the Latitude API is gone too, with no replacement... bye bye 3rd party location support.

      I wouldn't mind using G+ for location, but now my n900 will not be able to update position anymore (worked fine with Latitude and the excellent Zaploc tool)

      And it looks like there are no obvious alternatives....

    4. A J Stiles

      Re: B0rked

      I really can't decide which is worse:

      * The likes of Google pulling bait-and-switch operations;

      * People running businesses which rely on the likes of Google not pulling bait-and-switch operations;

      * People putting up with the likes of Google pulling bait-and-switch operations;

      * Smug gits crowing "It's free, what did you expect?" when people get upset about the likes of Google pulling bait-and-switch operations.

      * The percentage of those affected who dismissed what RMS originally said about exactly this when he said it, as though they somehow never expected it to come true.

    5. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: B0rked

      "The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available"

      All in the name of monetizing a service.

      This is clearly a monopoly in action.

      They use their ad revenue to get in to the map business and knock out any competition. They then reduce the service to being online only so that they can capture your information which they use to charge more for ads because they are better able to target you.

      They force you into + so that they can get more information about you.

      Step by step... you are being driven on to google owned sites.

      Pretty soon, you wont have the internet, but googlenet.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available."

    Oh FFS. Do Google realise that people want to do more than drive a mile to Starbucks?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available."

      > Oh FFS. Do Google realise that people want to do more than drive a mile to Starbucks?

      Of course they do. And they want to track you every inch of the way.

    2. Tom Chiverton 1
      WTF?

      Re: "The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available."

      Well, except the article says "Currently users can download maps of cities and location and cache them on the phone for offline perusal. With the new app, users select a map area (be it city, borough, or neighborhood,) and save a street map of that locale."

      So it sounds like you can still have off-line.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available."

      "Do Google realise that people want to do more than drive a mile to Starbucks?"

      Considering that it's been years that people have been asking for multi-waypoint routing on Mobile, to enable longer road trips to be planned (think US-66), and that Google has yet to implement this feature that they've had on the Web version all those years, no, I think that Google only considers short trips to places where the user can be a good little consumer in their use-case planning.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    You are the Product.... Just accept it

    Google wants to know everything about you 24/7. Where you are, who your friends are, where you shop.

    This is just so that they can target you with frigging ADVERTS.

    Oh look, you are near Starbucks. You went to one last month so why not pop in now. Turn left at the next set of lights.

    Once upon a time, google had a saying 'Do no Evil'. IMHO, this was consigned to the trashcan a good few years ago.

    Once you sign up to G+ then you are theirs, lock stock and ad revenue.

    I have to admit that the offline feature was useful in areas where there is NO 2G let alone 3G signal. The Googlers in their ivory towers seem to forget that you may need a map when you are somethere strange like out in the middle of nowhere?

    For that you get an Eadon like fail.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

      You do realise it was a totally free service and you have absolutely no right to complain if they turn it off?

      You're the kind of person who I could buy a drink for every night in the pub, and then when one day I tell you I won't buy you any more, bad-mouths me to your friends.

      1. toadwarrior
        FAIL

        Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

        Your analogy would make more sense if rather than you buying me a free drink you got paid for me being seen drinking your drink. Their whole business model revolves around "free" services and I'm positive they're not a charity.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

          People say good things about Nokia's offline maps. Anyone here care to recommend a good offline Android map app?

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

            @Dave 126: Try Copilot or Navfree.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

              "@Dave 126: Try Copilot or Navfree."

              I've used Navfree, and it's a reasonable free off line alternative. Maps seem no less accurate, although less detailed than Google, directions were clear and accurate, but there's none of the clever stuff that paid apps offer like traffic, speed alerts, camera warnings or lane guidance. For a free, off line satnav app it fills in for Google Maps when you can't manage a data connection, works OK based on UK experience, and doesn't take up too much space. Its main failing are those lack of extras, and that it doesn't do post code searching offline, needing to use Google to look up the postcode, so if using it in true offline mode then you need to enter the full address, which can be a pain.

              I think I'm getting to the point where I'll bite the bullet and pay for Copilot, and delete both Google Maps and Navfree.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

                @Ledswinger:

                You need to pay for Copilot if you want more than one country offline or want to have voice directions, maps in 3D, or the Tom Tom-style extras for more than 14 days. Otherwise you don't, so it's good option for pedestrian maps or a good way to try out the car satnav features and see if you like them before paying.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Offline maps on android

            While google's offline maps still work (with the "ok maps" easter egg), I have bought tom tom europe some time ago. I've found it has the best and more accurate maps, beating waze/open street maps, google, garmin (I have a couple garmin units with "life updates"), and nokia. It also has one of the worst interfaces, making you click three times to start navigating, and not allowing you to choose a close destination on the visible map. Waze has started with a relatively poor data set and you're always at the mercy of the map editors (I've seen tunnels disappear, and I see private roads marked as public frequently), google doesn't have offline navigation, garmin and nokia don't have an android app. Garmin is still better than nokia for most usage, though, with equal quality maps and a much better interface.

          3. My Alter Ego

            Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

            Maverick is great - also has OSGB & OSM maps and can be downloaded using Mobile Atlas Creator. It's brilliant as you select which layer you want, OSM public transport was pretty good when In Brugges. And the OSM cycling maps work well for hiking. Custom layers are available too, so I used it for skiing too (Open Piste Map),

            Another app I used when I was driving around France last year was NavFree - full turn by turn routing. Install the app and download the data for which ever country you want. Granted, it took me on a few tolled routes when I told it not to, but for something that was free, on my phone and didn't cost me any data usage, it was excellent.

        2. joekhul

          Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

          Wrong.

          Google never made any money off of latitude. That was part of their problem, they are NOT a charity but for some reason they allow idiots like you to treat them like one.

          I for one am glad to see that they are taking all you freetards off your free lunch and actually asking you to contribute something (even if it is your eyes to advert) for their work. As a developer, his analogy was perfect. You freetards want all your software for free, with no ads or anything to support the devs that made it.

          Just ridiculous.

          1. Steven Roper

            @ joekhul

            I don't have a problem with ad supported services, as long as the ads aren't too intrusive (content-obscuring Flash rollovers and frantically animated gifs are just stupid), but what I do have a big problem with is being profiled, analysed, probed for weaknesses and psychological vulnerabilities in order to be manipulated into buying something I normally wouldn't.

            I'm not so arrogant as to believe I am immune to psychological suggestion or manipulation carried out by professionals who have spent years studying the workings of the human mind and how to exploit them. I know I wouldn't stand a chance against someone like, say, Derren Brown. I am aware that I have vulnerabilities and I try to protect myself as best I can - by avoiding exposure to the kind of manipulative profiling carried out by the likes of Google and Facebook as much as possible.

            Unfortunately that means I have to use things like Adblock to protect myself - even though I would like to allow Google-style text-only or still-image advertising if it supported the sites I enjoy. But only if said advertising is generic and not predicated upon cataloguing and exploiting my weaknesses.

            1. Donald Becker

              Re: @ joekhul

              I *am* so arrogant as to believe I am immune to psychological suggestion or manipulation.

              I regularly try test this out, usually finding that I'm wrong.

              One good example was long ago, back when there was paper mail. Surveys were common, (Way back, before web tracers, before cookies, when dial-up modems were used.) I would ignore them. Then I got one with a crisp new dollar bill enclosed. Out of a sense of obligation, I filled it out. It took more than a dozen before I figured out that I had been expertly manipulated. I wouldn't have worked 20 minutes for $1, or given a marketing person that information for 100x that much. But they found a way how to make people feel obligated. And I feel for it. Repeatedly. And felt guilty for a while after I stopped.

              I managed, just barely, to avoid falling for similar feelings of obligation when charities started sending free return address labels and free Christmas cards.

              What about the 'Social Networking' epidemic, where every new company would try to boost their user count by secretly sending email in your name to everyone in your address book? 'Authorized' by a clause on page 51 of their terms and conditions. I fell for the 'personal' invitation from someone I trusted, and was saved only because I don't use the same password everywhere. Over the new few weeks I found that thousands of my friends and almost-friends were not so careful.

            2. Fihart

              Re: @ joekhul

              If only advertising was so effective.

              Mostly it's pretty random -- the clients don't really know a) who buys the product b) why c) what media they peruse.

              The people briefed by the client a) account execs, don't know anything b) creatives, are willfully indifferent to the product and only interested in winning awards for smart-aleck ideas.

              Research only shows what people currently buy -- or what they think they want based on what's already available. Most really good product ideas are the brainchild of one person who is interested in his/her field and doesn't give a damn about people who buy stuff, or sell it.

          2. Metrognome

            Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it @joekhul and JDX

            Ah, but that's where you are wrong.

            I already pay G for storage space and I would jump at the chance to pay a modest (which it usually is with Google) sub to remove all tracking let me own my data and allow me to use the services with some semblance of an SLA.

            It is the same analogy to receiving the BBC over satellite in Europe. I know a ton of people that would love to pay the license fee in exchange for a advert free tv experience but it is not on the table.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

        You do realise it was a totally free service and you have absolutely no right to complain if they turn it off?

        No, no, NO. Google products are NOT free. You pay for them with personal details, which means you pay continuously. Personally I think it's time that sort of misleading crap gets flagged up properly - your personal data has a value too, so the word "free" simply doesn't apply.

        If a Google product was free it would not require a login associated with agreeing to a privacy policy so questionable that half the EU is now investigating them for breaking Data Protection laws.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

        It's free for you, but Google are making millions selling your data to others.

      4. Mark .

        Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

        I think people are looking at the whole picture - the OS, or their phone, as a whole. If Google announced they were going to drop Android, it'd be annoying, and odd, but still their choice. If Android starts to drop useful features that a 7 year old Nokia could do, it's fair to criticise that.

        And Google+ may be free, but do you think Google don't gain from having users join it? Why are they trying to encourage people to do so, if that's the case? It's fair game to publicise problems with it.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      @Steve Davies Re: You are the Product.... Just accept it

      It goes beyond that.

      Its not that they only make money from showing you targeted ads, but that they can now sell aggregated data back to the advertisers to gauge your purchasing decisions. How effective the ad or alert was.

      Yes you are the product, but it goes beyond selling ads but customer information.

      Sheeple.

  4. Piro

    Android will become a poor choice soon enough

    Then it'll be off to another platform for all that get fed up, platforms that hopefully offer removed functionality from this and other applications/builds of Android.

    A shame. Mostly preventable, and squarely in the hands of power-hungry Google.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Android will become a poor choice soon enough

      Or you could just pay for a SatNav app. Heaven forbid you might have to pay for software.

      1. joekhul

        Re: Android will become a poor choice soon enough

        Agree 100%. Can't stand these spoiled freetards.

        1. Mike S

          Re: Android will become a poor choice soon enough

          You know... I did drop a decent stack of cash on my Google Nexus. I'm a bit disappointed that there was something I used to be able to do with my phone that I can't do anymore -my location with my wife automatically.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: Android will become a poor choice soon enough

            Try Glympse - it's not "always on", but a nifty "here's where I am for the next X mins/hours" to anyone you select from your address book (phone/email)

          2. Lamont Cranston

            Re: Android will become a poor choice soon enough

            How come everyone went apeshit when Sony took OtherOS away from the PS3, but when Google take away off-line maps, the "freetards" should just shut up?

            I paid money for my phone & tablet, so it's disappointing to see them lose functionality.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Android will become a poor choice soon enough

              "How come everyone went apeshit when Sony took OtherOS away from the PS3, but when Google take away off-line maps, the "freetards" should just shut up?"

              Are we reading the same web site? I am reading "forums.theregister.co.uk", where any complaining about the removal of OtherOS was downvoted and the poster chastised for being a "freetard"

              I'd like the URL for the other web site you seem to have been reading, where criticism of Sony's actions was not treated so shabbily - it sounds like a good place to be.

              1. Lamont Cranston
                Happy

                @ David D. Hagood

                One of us is probably suffering from confirmation bias.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @ David D. Hagood

                  Probably both of us.

          3. JDX Gold badge

            You know... I did drop a decent stack of cash on my Google Nexus.

            My Windows PC cost more than your phone, but that doesn't mean if someone takes a website offline I can complain I paid money for it. Your handset and your apps are different things - this isn't like Nokia removing free satnav which is effectively part of the phone.

            At least I don't think it is... not an Android user. Is all this an Android app or actually part of the OS?

            1. Mark .

              Re: You know... I did drop a decent stack of cash on my Google Nexus.

              Are you suggesting that the "Google" people buy their Nexus from isn't the same Google that makes the mapping application that comes with a Nexus?

              I don't see why being an application or OS matters - Nokia maps on my Nokia phone is an application too. In both cases they're applications, in both cases they came with the phone.

  5. DuncanL

    Offline maps gone... or not?

    The opening paragraph says offline maps are no longer available; but then later we get:

    Currently users can download maps of cities and location and cache them on the phone for offline perusal. With the new app, users select a map area (be it city, borough, or neighborhood,) and save a street map of that locale.

    I can't see the difference between these two options. They both seem to be "download a map for offline use" - which is what I want since I don;t have a data contract on my phone but do use the GPS and maps while cycling.

    What am I failing to understand?

    1. GregC

      Re: Offline maps gone... or not?

      The big difference is that the current maps app lets you choose areas to cache - so if I know I'm going to be in the middle of Snowdonia tomorrow I can download the map I'll need in advance. As I understand the new system it will only download the local maps for wherever I am at the time.

      Which isn't really much use, IMO....

      1. DuncanL
        Thumb Down

        Re: Offline maps gone... or not?

        Ah - I see... Chocolate teapot is the phrase...

      2. DuncanL
        WTF?

        Re: Offline maps gone... or not?

        A bit of Googling later and it seems offline maps will eventually return and that there is currently a way to cache any visible area, via the very strange ui of typing "ok maps" into the search bar....

        https://plus.google.com/+GoogleMaps/posts/C3GgC3sGoVJ

        Which says to me "unfinished feature, but marketing have decided we're launching anyway".

      3. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Offline maps gone... or not?

        As I understand it from reading the actual press release, the difference now is that when viewing the area you want to cache you just type 'OK Maps' into the search box and it'll then be saved to your device for later use. Apparently there will be updates, hopefully to add a button for the feature rather than typing something only tangentially connected to the task into the search bar...

  6. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Oh my god... They killed Kenny!

    For offline mapping, I like Skoobler's ForeverMap -- available for iOS and Android -- so losing the Goog's OLM isn't that much of a hardship for me.

    Latitude is another issue, however. The family refers to it as the Stalk-O-Matic™ and we use it often to find each other at events or to see that each other got home safely after a night out. THAT one going away is gonna hurt. Does anyone know of / have any recommendations for a similar "Find-the-Rest-of-the-Gang" app?

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Oh my god... They killed Kenny!

      Glympse

  7. Martin 71 Silver badge

    Ok I'll be the first to say it

    Was I the only one to think "Maps with no latitude, but they'll still have longitude, so wtf". Guess my dumbphone makes me persona non grata to Grabmoneyoogle eh?

    1. Cliff

      Re: Ok I'll be the first to say it

      >>Was I the only one to think "Maps with no latitude, but they'll still have longitude, so wtf". <<

      Apparently so.

  8. cs94njw

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    The one thing my less technically minded wife really really uses is Latitude!! :( For where I am, where our friends and family are. I can understand Google Reader going, but Latitude?!!???!??

  9. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Payback?

    I was bitterly disappointed when Nokia messed up Maemo, leaving Android with no serious competitor in the relatively-open space.

    Seems Google may be willfully conceding the maps space to Nokia. Payback?

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: Payback?

      Yeah, a WP Nokia is looking more and more attractive every day, esp with proper pureview on the way...

  10. Arachnoid

    Sounds like Minority Report

    Where you go shopping and get asked by the ad posters if you want some more shirts

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shame about Latitude

    Not that I ever used it, but I use a similar service, APRS. Specifically, APRS-IS, although I've done it with VHF packet radio as well..

    In fact, the system I use predates Latitude.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Maps? What Google Maps?

    It should be one of the best things on my Android phone, but it never has been.

    First, because there were no off-line maps (WTF? Nokia gave me this on the not-so-smart phone I had several years previously). I do not keep a phone-based data connection running: I need offline maps.

    Second, Google's then-new offline maps never worked on my device.

    For obvious reasons, I don't use Latitude --- but I sympathise with those that do, and decry Google's take-what-we-give-when-we-give-it attitude.

    All this adds up to Google Maps being something of a non-event for me.

    I use maps for navigation, not for maximizing Google's advertising revenue, and as such, I get a better deal from having bought one of the non-"free" nav apps.

    1. Andy Fletcher

      Re: Google Maps? What Google Maps?

      Unclear as to why paying for a product getting you something better than a free one is confusing.

      I use navigation on my phone offline - if I set my destination before setting off (while I'm still on WiFi) it works just fine. Just don't get the voice prompts.

  13. Blacklight

    http://www.droid-life.com/2013/07/10/fyi-offline-maps-saved-by-typing-ok-maps-in-google-maps-latitude-retires-august-9/

    ...states "We should mention that the My Maps section of Google Maps is not in this release, but Google assures us that it will arrive shortly."

    And given "maps engine lite" lets you edit specifically new custom maps, I hope it's just having a quiet (brief) lie down.

  14. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Apparently you don't have to update if you don't don't want to - but I'm really a babe in arms with my Android phone, so please do seek out an expert.

  15. Oldskater

    never a missed opportunity to bash G+ from the reg.

    some things never change.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, Google Maps, the dominant mapping project by every measure, is going to be preferentially integrating Google+, a minority social network by every measure.

    I don't think the EC is going to be particularly happy about that.

  17. joekhul

    More Freetard whining

    "oh no they are knocking the product out that i love and don't pay for or reward them for in any way. How DARE they expect me to do anything for their software in return. Don't they know everything on the internet is free and is magically made with no effort"

    Freaking idiots.

    I am so glad that Google is cutting the welfare nation off to your freetards. Listening to you guys whine is crazy. If you don't like Plus go find another service and STFU.

  18. Daniel Voyce

    Gutted

    I have been travelling for the past year and have been using Latitude to track my movements so I can put them into Google Earth later and my friends so I can see who is nearby - It's a shame that this is going - offline maps are really useful aswell!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    All the maps I need

    Come either from the OS in 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 scale, or from the air ministry in 1:250,000. Real maps, that don't go away when the supplier decides to stop supplying or the battery runs flat.

    Ok, you need a little practice to recognise the symbols, and perhaps a compass... and to be fair my ancient Nokia (choc-bar format, can't remember the name) has off-line maps which are reasonably useful if power hungry.

    One problem with pretty much *every* sat-nav I've come across is that they don't tell you what's around you - just how to get where you want to be. For many people that's not a primary use.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: All the maps I need

      We seem to have moved from paid AtoZ and OS maps to free online mapping without thinking about the true cost and source. Just taking it for granted. But, whether we like what Google does or not the fact is that no one promised us anything. We aren't entitled to anything and if we use someone else's toys we can't be too shocked if they ask for them back one day. We can't expect to rely on them. And there's no point sulking.

      There's nothing wrong with using free (legit) tools. But that doesn't excuse naivety.

      If it's a commercial product there has to be a hook inside the bait.

      And if they cost too much they'll go.

      It's no different to all those people who moan that Comet vanished, because they looked at the products in store but didn't actually buy their kit from them.

  20. CM
    Unhappy

    Reputation..

    Pulling something like Latitude with 30 day's notice - it'll add to the negative reputation google is working hard to earn. New goog service? Meh, better avoid it, it might be useful but vanish under my feet.

  21. DaddyHoggy

    I've looked at Copilot for offline maps - I'm even happy to pay for it BUT - I've only got an Samsung Galaxy Ace from 3 - the 278MB of phone memory is so stuffed full of pre-loaded apps that it has almost no storage space - I'd actually have to root my phone - so I could remove Google Maps (and loads of other Google stuff, Samsung stuff and 3 stuff I never use) to free up enough space to install co-pilot...

    I quite liked caching (in my limited free phone space - why Google would you not design this to use my SD card?) especially for areas I had visited previously and knew I had very limited/no 3G signal.

    Ho Hum.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inevitability

    I make a habit of caching map tiles before trips to minimize data usage away from wifi and to assure map availability when detail might be critical and I happen to be in a dead zone. The current version is perfectly suited to this.

    I always suspected I was liking this "free" app too much. I suppose it is better they screw me sooner than later.

  23. johnwulondon

    Google Maps no longer usable

    In parallel with the app changes, Google Maps for desktop pc has become unusable, overnight. Google has decided that the road colours used so far should be changed, so that motorways become orange, major routes yellow, other main roads white, all other roads of whatever size white. It is practically unreadable and totally confuses the road network.

    I cannot, physically, use this interface. I cannot distinguish the road detail enough to see which roads are which. I have good eyesight, but my guess is that this interface will be even harder to use for anyone with less than perfect eyesight.

    Bing, anyone?

    1. Mark .

      Re: Google Maps no longer usable

      On that note, people round here like to joke about Bing, but I was interested to read that Bing maps now use Nokia's maps, which are decent. MS's mistake is to brand it Bing, rather than using Nokia's branding...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Google Maps no longer usable

      How curious! My local [Indian] National Highways have become "AHs" How does NH turn into AH? And other roads have got USA-style shield-type labels.

      Good grief, Google, What Have You Done?

  24. Mark .

    First Google Play reviews, now...

    They already made Google Play reviews require Google+, and it confirms my worry of trying to force more services into Google+. Even aside from the debate as to whether a real name should be required for reviews or latitude, there are two major problems:

    - Your account is associated with your real name. Which means your phone is too, whether you like it or not. It doesn't help that their enforcement of this policy has been appalling, locking people from their accounts until people hand over legal proof of their foreign-sounding names.

    - Goodbye to multiple accounts. So if I have one Google account for my phone, but use another Google account for another service, and both start requiring the use of Google+, which says you're only allowed one account - it's unclear how one is meant to handle that?

    As a developer, I want people to be able to review my apps, without needing Google+. It does nothing to reduce the dumb reviews (which are usually sincere, so people don't mind putting their name to them). But it has reduced the quantity of reviews, which means you get less of a fair picture (when you only have a few reviews, there's much more "noise", and it only takes 1 1-star review to pull the average down significantly).

    1. davidp231

      Re: First Google Play reviews, now...

      Give them time... at some point they will eventually bake that requirement into the use of Gmail - if they haven't done so already.

  25. Jon H

    Shame to lose Latitude

    Well this will be the biggest lose here for me... it's quick and easy with Google Maps to see where a few select friends are... I can see if my girlfriend arrived safely at her hotel after a flight, I can when my brother finally decides to drive over to my house (he's always late), I can even see where my mates are who moved to Australia and USA. Latitude is both very useful and also interesting. And it's simple enough for anyone (thinking of my GF!) to have it automatically working on her phone.

    Instead we have to have G+ ??? How does live tracking work on that then? I set myself up on + a while back after various nagging by Google apps on my phone, but I don't use it, it isn't very clear how to work, I get all this rubbish on my page that has nothing to do with me. There's no way in the world I'd get someone like my girlfriend or mother to be able to use it. I don't know how live tracking works on it, do you have to have the app open for it to register your movements? Is it auto updating to selected people (not all your friends on G+)?

    Latitude worked simply... your phone knows where you are all the time anyway, it's simple for it to upload that location to a central server, then your friend just looks on Google maps (which checks that server) and sees your location. It works, it's simple, it's fast, you don't need a big messy social media app just for a map.

  26. Brainman

    I for one am going to miss the private location sharing of latitude ("Has my daughter or at least her phone got home from school yet?") and the location history service ("What day did I drive to Manchester? / where was I on the 25th").

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