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.

Google Maps Captures The Most Famous Mountains On Earth

Google Maps Captures The Most Famous Mountains On Earth

Google Maps has been going beyond simply mapping streets lately as they’ve been able to map NFL stadiums and the Grand Canyon earlier this year. You would think that would be enough to earn a pat on the back from the majority of the tech world, but Google is announcing they’re taking Google Maps where most people haven’t gone before: mountains.

Google Maps now allows you to explore a number of the most famous mountains on Earth, which includes Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Aconcagua in South America and Mount Elbrus in Europe. Each of these mountains belong to a group of peaks known as the Seven Summits, which means they’re the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.

The imagery that is now a part of Google Maps was captured by a lightweight tripod and a digital camera equipped with a fisheye lens, and of course actual people scaling these huge mountains. We’re sure the trip was as easy as going down to the local grocery store and picking up a pack of ice on a hot summer’s day.

Google will also be hosting a Google+ hangout at 10 a.m. PT to tell their tales of adventure, romance and intrigue they experienced during their time mapping the Seven Summits.

Google Maps for iOS gets its first update!

Nearly three months after releasing the much awaited Maps application for iOS, Google has finally released an update for it, which brings with it some useful new features.

One of the key new features is the ability to search through your Google contacts. All you have to do is sign into your Google account and then just type the name of the contact into the search field. The app still gives preference to locations but if you wait a while the contact name will appear.

Google has also added quick search for local places by adding categories such as restaurants, bars, cafes, fuel stations, etc. Lastly, you can now choose between kilometers and miles as your preferred distance unit.

The update is now available in the App Store. Unfortunately, there is still no iPad version of the app available.

“Taken 2″ grabs Movie Box Office Crown!

Liam Neeson thriller “Taken 2″ captured the No. 1 spot on movie box office charts over the weekend with a brawny $50 million take from theaters in the United States and Canada.

“Taken 2″ stars Neeson as a former CIA agent kidnapped during a vacation in Istanbul. The movie added $55 million from some 50 international markets for a global opening of $117 million including Korea where it opened earlier, distributor 20th Century Fox said.

The strong debut for “Taken 2″ pushed last weekend’s winner, family flick “Hotel Transylvania,” to second place. The movie about a hotel run by Dracula earned $26.3 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters. Comedy “Pitch Perfect” snagged the No. 3 slot with $14.7 million.

North American (U.S. and Canadian) sales for “Taken 2″ were more than double the original film’s, which opened in January 2009 with $24.7 million and ultimately grossed a surprising $227 million around the world. The movie lifted Neeson to the ranks of Hollywood action stars, leading to roles in movies such as “Clash of the Titans” and “The Grey.”

“This so exceeded our expectations going in,” said Chris Aronson, executive vice president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox, noting that Fox had anticipated something “in the mid-30s range” after what he called a “sluggish market” since the summer.

“The come in at $50 million is really remarkable, and a testament to this character that Liam has created,” Aronson told Reuters.

The executive noted that the audience was almost evenly split male-female, and also played strongly across age groups, with more than half over the age of 25.

Fox co-financed the film with Europa Corp, the company run by “Taken” writer and director Luc Besson, and contributed $36 million to its budget, Aronson said. Reports have put the total budget at about $50 million.

“Hotel Transylvania” won the weekend battle for pre-Halloween family filmgoers, leaving new Walt Disney Co movie “Frankenweenie” in fifth place. Through two weekends, “Transylvania” has grossed $76 million in the domestic market.

“Pitch Perfect,” about a college all-girls singing group moved up the charts as it expanded nationwide following an impressive limited opening last weekend. The movie stars Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow.

“There’s a lot to be said about this little engine that could,” said Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution for Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp, noting that the film only cost $17 million.

“It’s on the road to very nice profitability for Universal,” she said, adding that the studio expected “word of mouth, which we know is great” would help the film develop legs beyond its core, targeted audience, which, Rocco said, “loves it.”

Rounding out the charts, time-travel movie “Looper” earned fourth place with $12.2 million domestically. Sales for the movie starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt reached $40.3 million for the two-week run.

Disney’s “Frankenweenie” grossed $11.5 million at domestic theaters. The black-and-white stop-motion film directed by Tim Burton tells the story of a boy who brings his beloved dog back to life using Frankenstein-like science. The movie cost $39 million to produce.

News Corp’s 20th Century Fox studio distributed “Taken 2.” Sony Corp’s film studio released “Hotel Transylvania” and “Looper.” “Pitch Perfect” was distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp.