Google Maps

Google Maps for iPhone is Here!


If you’ve been frustrated by Apple’s decision to pull Google Maps from iOS and replace it with a less than steller (ok it kinda sucks) Apple Maps, then I’m about to make your day. Google has just released Google Maps for iPhone. Now in all fairness Apple Maps is working great for some, but there are people that were livid that Apple took away the tried and true Google Maps in favor of their own solution. While I didn’t really use Google Maps for “directions”, I did use it for searching for local businesses all the time. There are businesses that I search for in Apple Maps that just aren’t there yet, so yeah I’m happy to see this App get released.

Google Maps with Turn-by-Turn “Voice” directions

Not only did Google come out with a Maps App for iPhone, but they added turn-by-turn voice directions. This pretty much puts almost all other GPS navigation Apps in the App store on notice. Google is legendary for searching for stuff. Now you’ll be able to sign in with your gmail/google account and access your search history and favorites, yes even the ones you did on your computer. You’ll then be able to navigate from point a (your current location) to point b with voice directions. As many of you know, I’m a long time user of Navigon North America and even though Google Maps has returned with turn-by-turn directions, I have no plans to use it as my main navigation App. There’s one simple reason for this. Navigon allows you to download the maps you choose (by state) to your device so that you won’t need a data connection while driving. Google Maps will require a data connection to navigate. Other than that though, it would be hard for someone to justify buying a navigation App these days for iPhone. You now have two FREE solutions. Apple Maps built-in and Google Maps to navigate to the correct location (just joking, sorry Apple).

How does it work?

Once you launch the App you’ll be prompted to agree to the terms and conditions, optionally sign into your Google account and agree to have it know your location. Then you’ll see a map of where you are with a search field. Type whatever you’re looking for into the search field including business names or addresses. It will find the place in question on the map and then you can tap it to get directions via driving, walking or public transportation as well as a estimated time to get there. Tap the route you want to take and you’ll hear a voice telling you your first move/turn, and yes Street View and Traffic is there too!

Use Siri to route via Google Maps


Since Apple Maps is built-in it has the benefit of working with Siri. You could say things like “navigate home” or “navigate to the Apple Store” and it will fire up Apple Maps and start navigating. However, you can add a couple of words to your Siri voice command to get the option to navigate via other Apps. Since Apple doesn’t do public transportation via Apple Maps, if you say “navigate home by train” it will find your address in Apple Maps and then offer to hand off to another installed routing App that does support public transportation. At that point you can tap Google Maps and still have it navigate by car if you like. Siri will have done all the work of inputting the address. This is great for navigating to contacts too or other relationships like “navigate to my sister’s house by bus”.

What’s missing?

This is all good, but just like having a different favorite web browser (in my case Google Chrome) you can’t have Google Maps be your default Mapping App. Anything system related will still launch Apple Maps by default just like anything system related will launch Safari no matter how many browsers you have installed. This is not Google’s fault. It’s a restriction of iOS. Also in typical Google fashion, they’ve released this as an iPhone/iPod touch App, but not as a Universal App for iPad yet. Google usually takes a while to update their Apps to be native on the iPad. This app will work on iPad, just not taking advantage of the iPad screen size.


The Bottom Line

It’s Google Maps and it’s Free! What’s there to complain about? You should be downloading this now!

Apple Maps Breakup Letter :-)

Fly Delta

Fly Delta App – “This is not the upgrade you’re looking for!”

As a Diamond Medallion, Million Miler with Delta I use the Fly Delta App quite a bit. While the App has continued to improve over the years, it was still missing key features like being able to manage your Skymiles account and surprisingly not being able to actually buy a ticket in the App. Needless to say I was more than just a little excited to see the Delta App featured in the Apple iOS 6 announcement by showcasing an upcoming version with Passbook support.

Once iOS 6 shipped back in September we began seeing a regular stream of updates to our favorite Apps that offered iOS 6 support, iPhone 5 display size support, and in some cases Passbook support where appropriate. Now I’ll be the first to be a little forgiving to developers that run into development issues that are unforeseen and therefore cause delays in shipping their app. I work for a developer and I see it all the time. Also my own Learn the Creative Suite App hasn’t been updated yet for iPhone 5 screen size by my developers.  I figured that the developers of the Fly Delta App were taking a little more time to give us a really kick butt update! Granted it might take a while, but it would probably be worth the wait.

Delta made things worse by breaking their existing App

When a new computer or operating system is released, I always joke with the people that get so excited or up in arms that just because something new has come out, that it doesn’t make the thing you’ve been happily using all of a sudden stop working. While I would have loved an updated Fly Delta App with Passbook support, the existing App was working just fine as it always has. Well that was until Delta decided that it was time to update their website. Not only did it get a design refresh, it also got a security/login update. If you go to and log in with your existing account you will be prompted to create a new “password” instead of the 4 digit pin that had been in place. If you create a new Skymiles account, you won’t have a choice, you’ll have to crate a new alpha-numeric password. No problem right? It’s more secure! That’s all fine and good, except that the Fly Delta App only accepts 4 digit pins. This means that anyone that updates their password, will no longer be able to log into the existing App. No more boarding passes period. No more itineraries. You’d have to go back to using the Mobile Website.

An Update Finally Arrived, but….

I’ve been checking my iPhone for updates every day, multiple times a day in anticipation of this update. I was hoping to see it before I finished traveling for the year. Then all of a sudden, there it was. Finally it was an update to the Fly Delta App that I was sure that at a minimum would fix the login issue and hopefully have the other features we’ve been waiting for too. I was sadly disappointed. It was merely an update that “Added a link to the Delta privacy policy”. REALLY? Delta, after all this time, you submit an App to the App Store that merely adds a link to your privacy policy? As a loyal customer that flies over 200,000 miles a year, I’m stunned and disappointed. Rarely do we ever mention Apps here that we don’t consider to be “Best” Apps, but this time we had an App that went from being a Best App (or at least a good one) to one that isn’t even usable anymore. Your competition has updated their Apps for iOS 6, iPhone 5 and Passbook: AA, United, Air Canada & Lufthansa. Why not you?

I’d love to see an update that includes:

  • Support for your new passwords
  • Passbook support
  • iPhone 5 display size
  • Skymile Account Management (why would you allow this via the mobile site and not via your native app?)
  • The ability to buy your product (a flight) in the App <-You are in the business to make money right?
  • and while you’re at it, an iPad native version wouldn’t hurt. Both AA and Lufthansa have done this.

I’ll be glad to change my rating once you have a working update and by the way, NO ONE was looking for your privacy policy in your App. No one! If any feature should have been on the mobile website and not in the App, this would have been the one to do that with.


Google’s Snapseed for iOS now FREE

Google acquired Nik Software and didn’t waste much time updating Snapseed for iOS and also coming out with an Android version. Snapseed has always been one of my favorite image editing apps on iOS and although it has been offered for Free from time to time by Nik, now it’s free for all. One of the biggest features in this update is the ability to share images to (wait for it……..) Google+. Shocking I know, but yes Google has added Google+ sharing to their new image editing App. It seems that Google has been on a roll lately with updates for their iOS Apps. They updated the YouTube App to be iPad native, revamped the Gmail App and people are loving it and now a new Snapseed App. We can only hope that a new Google Maps App is in the not too distant future. I think Apple Maps is “OK”, but most of the things I search for never seem to be there. It’s for that reason and that reason alone that I miss Google Maps.



YouTube Goes iPad Native

One of the things that Apple pulled from iOS 6 was the built-in YouTube App. This brought both pain and joy to different users. The pain was losing a familiar App, the joy was getting a new, better App that would be updated more frequently. Google shipped the stand-alone YouTube app right on time for it to be ready for the iOS 6 update, but there was one major thing missing. There was no iPad native version. That changed yesterday when Google updated the YouTube App to be a Universal App not only with iPad support, but also built-in AirPlay support as well. Very cool! This new update works well. I was able to log into my account and gain immediate access to my videos, subscriptions, playlists, etc. If you have an iOS device running iOS 6 or higher, you should get this App!

Also be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel here.


Mpix Tap To Print

3 Apps That Let You Order Prints From Your iPhone Photos

A friend of mine asked me was there an App that would allow her to get prints from the photos on her iPhone? She doesn’t have a printer at home and basically just wanted to be able to upload the pics she took and go pick up the physical prints somewhere. Of course the answer is yes, there’s an app for that. Actually there are a few Apps for that and here are my 3 choices.

CVS Pharmacy

The CVS App keeps getting better. They recently updated it to the iPhone 5 display size and streamlined the interface. You can log into your account and even display your CVS card at checkout with it. It of course has the ability to upload your iPhone pics and then pick them up at a CVS of your choice. CVS also seemed to have the lowest 4×6 Print price!



Like the CVS App, Walgreens offers the same features, but in addition to allowing you to display your Rewards card in the App, they also support Passbook and you can add your Rewards card to Passbook too. (CVS not sure why you haven’t done this yet?). However, the Walgreens App has not been updated to the iPhone 5 display size yet. Go figure. The Walgreens app will also let your grab photos from Facebook to print.


Mpix Tap to print

The pros use and while you can’t walk into an “MPIX” and pick up your prints, you can use their App to order prints and have them sent to you. If you’re looking for a bit of added quality and paper options, then MPIX is going to be your App.


The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to snap, edit and print right from your iPhone the Apps above will deliver. This holiday season this could be useful as many of you will be traveling and away from your traditional printers. Enjoy!

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