Very cool augmented reality program for Android

Google Maps Mania has just highlighted Enkin, a slick new augmented reality program that is being built for the Android platform.

You’ve probably seen demos like this before, but this one sounds like it’s pretty much ready to launch.  The developers say that some Android hardware will have the necessary components built in (compass, GPS and camera), so would expect that we’ll be able to use this software later in the year!

Check out the video below for more:

Enkin from Enkin on Vimeo.

Public transportation now available on Google Maps Mobile

Google has just updated Google Maps Mobile to version 2.2.  The primary enhancement in this version is public transit — now you can get information on bus, train and ferry routes right from your mobile.

You can download the application by visiting this link with your phone, or you can read more on the Google LatLong Blog or on Google Maps Mania.  In addition, they’ve produced a short video to show off the new features:

3D Earth product in the iPhone

Google Earth Blog has a story about a digital earth product called Earthscape.  Earthscape is a desktop program that aims to be similar to Google Earth (and others).  It may end up being a decent product, but that’s not the point of this post.

At Where 2.0 last week, GEB author Frank Taylor was shown an iPhone application that uses their product.  Not only does it handle the top down view (like Google Maps Mobile), but you can pan down into a 3D view!  Taking it a step further, the application responds to tilting, so you can move the phone around in your hand to change the view.

The application has some work to be done before it can be released, but it shows a ton of potential.  Below is the video that Frank took and you can read more about it in this blog post:

Mobile demo of Virtual Earth at CES

Mobile Virtual Earth demo(via VE / LM) Yesterday at CES in Las Vegas, Bill Gates showed off a completely fake but completely cool demo of Virtual Earth on a handheld device. The technology used in the demo is still a few years away, but it’s a cool glimpse at the future.

One thing that stood out to me in the demo was the trees in the 3D city. Microsoft has hinted before that they’re working on getting trees into VE, and I’d love to see that happen soon. I don’t think this demo indicates that they’re coming anytime soon, but I’d obviously expect to see them in the desktop version of VE before they appear in a mobile version.

Be sure to watch the full video (4:21) to see it in action.

Yahoo Go 3.0 released, with a nice version of Yahoo Maps

Yahoo Go MapAs reported by Mobileography, Yahoo has just released Yahoo! Go 3.0.  Among the many features in this new mobile suite is a pretty good version of Yahoo Maps.

In my brief testing, it seems very similar to Google Maps Mobile, though I give a slight edge to Google. Their app seems to load tiles a bit faster and it’s much smoother when moving, but they’re really very close.

I’m hoping this release forces Google to bring out more mobile products, or at least enhance their existing ones.  Google Maps Mobile is great, but certainly could be better in a few areas.

If you have a compatible phone (and if you have a non-iPhone that can access the web, you probably do), go check out Yahoo Go and leave your comments below.

New updates coming for the iPhone version of Google Maps

Rumor has it that the iPhone firmware will be updated to version 1.1.3 next week. Part of that update will include a few new features for the Google Maps app on the phone.

  • One part will be a hybrid view, which the phone currently doesn’t have.
  • The other is the addition of the “My Location” feature, which is already available in the mobile Gmaps for other phones.

I’ve had these features on my Nokia N95 for a while now, so it’s nice to see that they’re finally making their way to the iPhone.

Don’t forget about Google Maps Mobile for traffic info

GMM TrafficWith so many people traveling over the next 10 days, I thought it would be worth reminding you about the excellent Google Maps Mobile.

The searching and directions are neat, but the live traffic is the real killer feature in this product. It saved us a good deal of time yesterday (don’t go down 75 — take 285 around) , and will likely be a big help again tomorrow.

Their latest update also included “My Location”, which is a simulated GPS using cell tower information. My phone has GPS (N95 FTW), but this is a useful feature on my wife’s BlackJack.

Bottom line: If you have a compatible phone, GMM is a must have during the holidays.

Location information in Google Maps for mobile — without GPS

Google has just released a new version of Google Maps for mobile today.  This version includes a new feature called “My Location”.  By using cell tower triangulation, it can pinpoint your location to within a few hundred meters.  It’s not as accurate as GPS, but it’s pretty darn good.

In addition, it can assist with your location if you already have GPS.  It will typically kick in more quickly than GPS and works better indoors.

For more information, visit the Google LatLong Blog or the Google Mobile Blog.