Just in Time for Super Tuesday, Google Updates its U.S. Elections Site With Better Maps


Today is one of the most important days in the run-up to the Republican convention in Tampa in August. With 10 states holding primaries at the same time, a less than stellar showing today could mark the beginning of the end for some of the Republican candidates. Just in time for this so-called Super Tuesday, Google has updated its Politics & Elections site with an upgraded visualization of past results and real-time updates from today's contest.

As Google notes, the updated map "lets you track both the state-by-state numbers as well as the results by county, with delegate counts in addition to raw numbers and percentages from the AP." The updated maps then provide users with a bit more detail than before, though the overall design hasn't changed too much.

Google is obviously putting a lot of emphasis on this election cycle. The company's video-sharing site YouTube, for example, will play host to the Washington Post's live video coverage of today's primaries and the company regularly provides pundits with updated graphics based on search volume across its network.

8:27 am

Google Maps for Mobile Browsers: Now Better Than a Native App


Google Maps for mobile browsers on iOs and Android now features almost all the features of the desktop version.

When you compare the features of the Google Maps-based mapping app on the iPhone with the Google Maps desktop experience, it quickly becomes obvious how many feature are missing from the native app. There are no layers, no biking directions, no photos and no integration with Google Places, for example.  Google constantly adds new features to Maps, but the native app on the iPhone hasn’t seen any major update for ages. Indeed, there are some rumors that Apple is developing its own maps and mapping apps and could soon drop Google as its main mapping provider.

Now, however, the mobile version of Google Maps that runs in the browser is getting virtually all of the features the desktop version currently offers. There are clickable icons for businesses and transit stations, biking directions and layers, integration with places most of the other features you’ve gotten accustomed to on the desktop. Overall, the web-based version of Google Maps – especially on iOS – is now better than the native app. On the one hand, that showcases the power of web apps, but it also highlights how out of date the native Apple ‘Maps’ app has become.


Here is a list of all the new features:[list]

  • See your current location
  • Search for what’s nearby with suggest and auto complete
  • Have clickable icons of popular businesses and transit stations
  • Get driving, transit, biking, and walking directions
  • Turn on satellite, transit, traffic, biking, and other layers
  • View Place pages with photos, ratings, hours, and more
  • When signed into your Google account, access your starred locations and My Maps[/list]

Thanks to the wonder of modern web technologies like HTML5, using the web-based version of Google Maps doesn’t feel very different from using the native apps. The new features actually make it more useful than the native app. You can now, for example, tap on a business’ name on the map and immediately see reviews, call the business, get directions or see more details on the respective place page. The only feature I’ve always missed in the web-based version has been the ability to double-tap on a map to zoom in. That’s still not an option today.

9:55 am