Last October, we launched Our Mobile Planet, a resource enabling anyone to visualize the ways smartphones are transforming how people connect with information, each other and the places around them.
Today, we’re releasing new 2012 research data, and the findings are clear—smartphone adoption has gone global. Today, Australia, U.K., Sweden, Norway, Saudi Arabia and UAE each have more than 50 percent of their population on smartphones. An additional seven countries—U.S., New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland—now have greater than 40 percent smartphone penetration. In the U.S., 80 percent of smartphone owners say they don’t leave home without their device—and one in three would even give up their TV before their mobile devices!
We conducted this research to help people to better understand how mobile is changing our world. You can learn about mobile-specific usage trends, use this tool to create custom visualizations of data and more. There’s plenty to discover in the latest research—to dig into new survey data about smartphone consumers in 26 countries from around the world, read our post on the Google Mobile Ads blog or visit http://thinkwithgoogle.com/mobileplanet.
Since introducing the live traffic feature on Google Maps in 2008, our team has been working hard to make this feature available to more users in more countries. Just in time for summer travel, we’re delighted to announce that today we’re making traffic available in 13 countries in Europe. The new road traffic information is in the traffic layer on Google Maps and Google Maps for mobile, and Google Maps Navigation (Beta).
Today we’re announcing new coverage in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland. Coverage includes all freeways and highways, as well as large roads in major cities. Users in the UK will also benefit from a finer grain of street level coverage.
Our Maps team in Zurich is especially excited about this release because many of us will now be able to personally benefit from the expansion of this traffic feature. For example, although I take public transit to work every day, I enjoy weekend drives to the Austrian Alps or the Italian lakes region, and having live traffic available on my phone helps me avoid the traffic at the Gotthard tunnel.
Traffic in Gotthard Tunnel, Switzerland
The live traffic layer is regularly updated to show information for traffic events from the last 5-10 minutes. Finally, you can learn more about typical traffic conditions for specific times and days of the week by clicking the “change” link in the traffic legend on Google Maps, and setting the day of week and time.
Today, we are excited to let you know that we have updated the base map data in all Google Maps products and services for ten countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa and Switzerland. This follows earlier improvements to our maps in the US and Canada, and will be rolling out over the course of the next day.
Somewhere near you, a new road is being constructed, an existing one is changing names, a new restaurant is opening, or a parking lot is making way for a park. With this update, you can help keep your neighborhood accurate across Google’s geo product suite. Notice that something has changed on your block recently, or that the directions provided could have been better? Report a problem, and we will make the change in Google Maps within a couple of months.
We have worked hard to improve the usefulness of the maps for our users, developers, and business partners. Improvements range from including more address data and building footprints so you find your destinations easily, to adding higher resolution topographic features and detailed university campuses to help you orient yourself faster in a new area. We have also augmented our maps with bike paths and walking trails, and will roll out biking directions soon. We hope our maps help you explore your world better.
Posted by Anup Mantri, Software Engineer
We’re always looking to improve the accuracy of our maps and the value of the services we offer around them. To do that we need to have the best quality map data possible, and we believe that nobody knows the world around them better than our users. For this reason we’re always excited when we can update our maps and enable users to participate in improving them, as we have previously in the United States and Canada.
Today we’re adding Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, and Switzerland to the set of countries in which this is possible. These map updates will improve our geocoding and directions, increase the accuracy and coverage of natural features such as forest and water bodies, and add walking paths and bicycling trails.
The updates will roll out over the next 24 hours, and will be applied automatically to existing Maps API applications. However we ask that you refresh any cached addresses, latlngs, or routes for these countries that were obtained using the Maps APIs before this update as soon as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns about how these updates affect your Maps API application, or for help refreshing your cached data, please post to the relevant forum. We look forward to lots of great map feedback from our users in these countries that will improve the maps experience both in Google Maps and in the Maps API.
Posted by Thor Mitchell, Google Maps API Product Manager