Buzz Out Loud 1269: OMG Higgs Boson! (podcast)

On today's show, apparently someone left the God particle in a bar or something, it's always sunny in Chile, and how to be "that guy" by bringing your 27-inch monitor to a coffee shop. Oh, and Isaiah Mustafa, otherwise known as the Old Spice guy, is now making custom videos for Twitter people. Without his shirt, of course. Thank goodness.

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Report: Apple buys mapping company Poly9

Apple could be upping the ante in its battle with Google as the company reportedly purchased Poly9, a mapping company based in Canada.

AppleInsider on Wednesday cited a report from French-Canadian news site saying that Apple bought the company and has already moved the majority of workers to California. While many companies that get purchased post a note to their Web site, Poly9's site appears to be offline this morning.

Apple representatives were not immediately available to confirm the purchase when contacted by CNET.

Poly9 has worked with some big organizations in the past including Microsoft, Yahoo, … Read more

Open Spot app helps Android users find parking

Circling a crowded neighborhood for 45 minutes looking for a parking spot is easily my least favorite part of driving. Google's latest experimental app from its Labs aims to make finding street parking just a bit easier. Appropriately dubbed Open Spot, this free app for Android phones provides a user-generated map of available parking spaces near the user's current position.

Open Spot uses the GPS positioning function present in most smartphones to track your position, displaying the surrounding area using Google Maps. At the beginning of a trip, you use Open Spot to mark the parking space you … Read more

A GPS device from the 1920s

What did people do before the days of GPS satellites and battery-sucking A-GPS phones? Not only was there a navigational device that gave driving directions in the early 20th century, it was small enough to fit on your wrist.

This product from the 1920s is a scroll-map navigator in the shape of a watch. It came with tiny interchangeable instructions that you scrolled manually to see which roads to take when driving.

Named the Plus Four Wristlet Route Indicator, this relic from the past was a British product that would have cost about 5 pounds at the time, about 50 … Read more

Google Maps adds 'Send to SYNC' button

Starting Monday, you'll be able to send directions from a Web browser to your SYNC-equipped Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury vehicle using the new Send to SYNC button on Google Maps.

If you use Ford's SYNC TDI (traffic, directions, and information) application, you can send directions directly from your computer or smartphone to Ford's cloud-based application. Once in your car, you can ask SYNC to retrieve the map, which it will download from the cloud; it will then calculate turn-by-turn directions using the latest traffic information and incorporating the driving preferences you set up in the app.

It'… Read more

Google mobile apps collect Wi-Fi location data

There's a reason Google can shut down its Street View cars and still maintain a quality geolocation service on mobile devices: it's crowdsourcing the data.

Mobile-phone and some laptop users who use Google applications to get a fix on their position or share their location with friends are helping Google build out a database of Wi-Fi hot spots, the company confirmed Tuesday. Users generally understand when they are sharing their own location with Google or its partners, but they may not realize they are also helping Google match Wi-Fi hot-spot location data with GPS coordinates by transmitting the … Read more

MapQuest remaps itself

The latest changes to the MapQuest site are designed for travelers who believe a trip is as much about the journey as it is about the destination.

The mapping and direction service launched a host of new options on Tuesday that the company hopes will make its site more intutive and help people plan and discover new places as they travel the roads.

To start the journey, MapQuest has simplified its search box for locating directions and maps. The new, more user-friendly interface resembles the ones you'll find at Bing Maps and Google Maps--probably not a coincidence. Type your … Read more

More people grabbing directions via mobile phones

People are increasingly relying on their mobile phones to deliver maps and directions on the go, according to ComScore.

Data released by ComScore on Friday discovered that 14 percent of all mobile phones users in the U.S., or 33.5 million people, accessed maps on their devices at least once a month over the three months ended April, a 44 percent rise from the same period in 2009.

The number of mobile users who retrieved maps one to three times a month rose 47 percent to 17.1 million, while those accessing maps once a week climbed 60 percent … Read more

Setting the mapping bar

As far as mobile mapping goes, Google Maps for Android offers one of the best experiences you can get. The feature-fest, which Google has been building on for years, doesn't just tell you where you are using nothing but GPS or cell tower triangulation. It also tells you how to get where you want to go by car, public transport, good old-fashioned shoe leather, and now, by bike. Voice-guided navigation takes you turn by turn, and voice search keeps your typing fingers fresh.

A variety of add-ons layers information on top of the base map, so you can view … Read more

Triple update for Google Maps for Android

There's a reason I commute in tennis shoes--the days I literally make a mad dash for the soon-to-be departing train or bus.

Sure, there are localized apps for getting schedules, but it's also convenient that public transportation scheduling is one of a handful of enhanced features in Google Maps for Android version 4.3, new on Tuesday.

Schedules toe their way into the public transit page that's invoked by tapping the icon of a station that's plotted on a map--as long as those details are available to Google, that is.

On the social front, Latitude, Google'… Read more