Version 9.3 of Google Maps is here to lead the way: lets you share directions with others

Google has updated its Google Maps for Android app to version 9.3, bringing the ability to share directions, tweaks to location settings notifications, and some bug fixes.

The most prominent feature the update brings to the table is sharable directions. This means that any application accessible through the standard share function can now accept directions, which appear as a list of instructions, something which could be really useful especially when you want to share this information with someone who doesn’t have a smartphone and/or Google Maps installed on their device.

In addition, the updated app now lets you permanently disable the pop-up that appears whenever your location settings aren’t what the app wants them to be. Aside from these features, the update also brings along a few bug fixes.

Head over to Google Play to download the update – it is currently rolling out, so it may take a few days before it reaches everyone.

Leaked screenshots of Apple’s ‘iOS in the Car’ surface!

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Developer Steven Troughton-Smith posted several images on Twitter this afternoon of what looks like Apple’s iOS in the Car project. The screenshots don’t show the entirety of the feature, but if legit, they do offer some insight on what the Maps app will look like when in use.

For those unfamiliar with iOS in the Car, it’s an interface that deepens the integration between iOS devices and cars far beyond playing music. First introduced at WWDC, the feature will allow users to view and manage many iOS applications using their in-vehicle hardware…

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Troughton-Smith didn’t give any indication as to where he obtained the images, but it’s possible they were bundled in with the just-released version of iOS 7.1 or an earlier beta. The feature is expected to be one of the many changes and improvements made in the next iOS update.

Also worth noting is how different these screenshots look compared to the ones Apple showed off last summer, or even those on the company’s website right now. So it’s unclear if this iteration is set to be the final release version, or if it’s a barebones interface built for testing purposes.

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Tim Cook has stressed the significance of iOS in the Car in the past, calling it a “key focus” and an “important part” of Apple’s ecosystem. And many automakers have pledged to support the new feature in future car models with custom hardware including Audi, Honda, Acura and BMW.

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Apple’s website lists iOS in the Car as ‘Coming soon.’

iPhone gaining over Android in US, two-thirds of iOS users on Apple Maps!

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Breaking all of the preconceived notions about the cyclicality of the iPhone, a new survey shows Apple’s iOS gaining on Google’s Android and the embattled BlackBerry during a three-month period ended August 2013. The iPhone gained 1.3 percentage points ranking as the top smartphone vendor in the United States with a cool 40.7 percent share of the nation’s smartphone subscribers.

Although Google’s Android  led with a dominating 51.6 percent share, its slice of the smartphone platform market actually shrank by 0.8 percentage points. What’s really interesting about Apple’s growth is that iOS outsold Android without the new iPhones. The full breakdown is after the break…

Together, Android and the iPhone took more than 92 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, comScore data shows. iOS went from 39.2 percent in May 2013 to 40.7 percent share in August. At the same time, Google’s Android declined, going from 52.4 in May to 51.6 percent of the U.S. smartphone platform share in August.

In the meantime, BlackBerry lost 0.8 percentage points in subscribers share and Microsoft’s Windows Phone gained a meager 0.2 percentage point share.

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In terms of individual phone vendors Apple emerged victorious, its iPhone accounting for 40.7 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers, up 1.5 percentage points from May. Even without the new iPhones, Apple zoomed past second-ranked Samsung which grabbed just 24.3 percent market share despite the launch of its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone.

HTC  (7.4 percent), Motorola (6.9 percent) and LG (6.7 percent) rounded up the top five US phone vendors, though neither was able to grow its share compared to the three-month period ended May 2013.

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In terms of mobile apps, Apple’s iOS Maps grabbed a 27.5 percent penetration compared to 46.1 percent for Google Maps.

As noted by AppleInsider, that means iOS Maps in its first year on the market has managed to achieve “40 percent of Google’s total audience reach, despite only being available on iOS, which comScore says represents 40.7 percent of the U.S. market”.

Based on comScores figures, at least two thirds of iOS users are continuing to use Apple’s Maps, while half of all smartphone users are either not using Google Maps or not using maps at all. If a significant proportion of iOS users simply don’t use maps, that means Apple Maps has even greater penetration among those that do.

In any case, the data does not support the idea that a significantly large proportion of iOS users have switched from Apple Maps to a competing product.

Facebook recorded a 75.7 percent reach among smartphone users on both platforms, followed  by Google Search (53.9 percent), Google Play (53.2 percent), YouTube (52.8 percent), Google Maps (46.1 percent) and Gmail (44.3 percent).

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According to comScore, about 145 million people in the United States owned smartphones during the three months ending in August, a three-percent increase since May.

The figure represents a mobile market penetration of 60.8 percent.

Of course, comScore’s data doesn’t take into account the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, which went on sale in the United States and ten major international markets on September 20. Apple confirmed opening weekend sales of the new iPhones hit nine million units.

Google Maps 2.0 for iOS is out with enhanced navigation and iPad support

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Good news iOS users! The big Google Maps update that hit the Android Play Store last week is now rolling out to Apple’s mobile platform. The update, which brings the app to version 2.0, contains a number of new features including iPad support and indoor maps.

Although Apple’s Maps application has significantly improved in recent months, many folks still prefer to use Google’s offering. And since it launched its standalone Maps app on iOS last December, users have been clamoring for an iPad version. Well, here it is…

For a while, the update was available in certain Asian countries, but it couldn’t be downloaded in the United States. In fact, the Google Maps app was gone altogether for a while.

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The Google Maps 2.0 update is now showing in the US App Store. Here’s the full change log:

– New design for iPad

– Enhanced navigation including live traffic updates and incident reports

– Explore: A new way to browse and discover popular local places to eat, drink, shop, play and sleep

– Simple 5-star ratings and reviews from friends, plus expert Zagat content

– Great deals from your favorite brands with Google Offers

– Indoor maps with walking directions for malls, transit stations, airports and more

If you haven’t yet, you can find the new version of Google Maps in the App Store, for free.