Google Map Maker arrives in U.K.

Google has brought its Map Maker tool to the United Kingdom, letting ordinary people contribute mapping data to the widely used Google Maps service.

The company announced the move today on its Lat-Long blog and at an event at the famed World War II code-breaking site of Bletchley Park.

That means the public could help endow online maps with the same level of detail that's in the superb Ordnance Survey maps -- which seemingly document every footpath, Roman road, and hamlet in Old Blighty.

Google Maps has become a major force in modern computing as Google combines information on … Read more

Microsoft images used in Maps for iOS 6

Much ado has been made of Apple's decision to ditch Google's mapping technology in favor of an in-house solution for the Maps app in iOS 6. Yesterday's WWDC keynote failed to shed light on how Apple plans to accomplish that task, but an anonymous tipster leaked iOS 6 beta screenshots showing TomTom attribution information, later confirmed by CNET.

Also included in Apple's mapping initiative is OpenStreetMap and at least 15 other mapping data providers (AND, DigitalGlobe, Intermap, LeadDog, others).

While the attribution lists a number of map data providers, Microsoft is conspicuously missing. So how is … Read more

Apple's iPhoto finally credits OpenStreetMap data

Apple has finally acknowledged the use of OpenStreetMap data in its iOS iPhoto app, the open-source mapping project said yesterday.

The iPhoto app, a photo-sorting tool for the iPad and iPhone, switched from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap (OSM) data back in March. The app uses mapping data so it can display the shoot location of geotagged photos.

However, the app did not credit the use of OSM data, leaving it up to the mapping project's team to point out the development in a blog post. That post was updated on Thursday with a screenshot of the credits in the … Read more

AOL patents could help Microsoft battle Google Maps

Microsoft bought AOL's patents in a deal valued at $1.056 billion and may have just accelerated a Web map war with Google.

In a statement, AOL said it will sell more than 800 of its patents and patent applications to Microsoft. The deal includes shares of an undisclosed subsidiary so AOL can take a loss for tax purposes.

The deal is good for both parties and the patent auction was apparently competitive, according to Microsoft.

Why would these patents be so hot? There's a Web mapping war going on. Let's connect a few dots:

Wikipedia, Foursquare and Apple ditched Google Maps for OpenStreetMap, … Read more

Google Maps' high fees drive sites elsewhere

Foursquare is one of a number of Web sites jumping ship from Google Maps to an open-source alternative. You can put a good part of the blame on Google's hefty licensing fees.

A wide variety of sites use Google Maps on their own pages to pinpoint locations, offer directions, and provide other travel info. But according to The New York Times, the fees charged by Google for the privilege can easily run into six figures.

A recent blog posted by the Web site StreetEasy confirmed a price tag of $200,000 to $300,000 shelled out each year to … Read more

Non-Google maps pop up in iPhoto for iOS

One of the more subtle differences between iPhoto for iOS and its desktop software counterpart turns out to be deeper than meets the eye.

The new software, which made its debut yesterday alongside Apple's third-generation iPad, has a subtle difference that wasn't advertised: Apple's using a new set of maps to show where a user's photos were taken, and those maps do not appear to be from Apple's longtime map provider Google.

That in and of itself would not be quite so interesting if not for the fact that Apple is expected to roll out … Read more

Did Google-run computers taint rival mapping project?

OpenStreetMap organizers said computers using a Google Internet address have been tainting its cooperative mapping project.

"Preliminary results show users from Google IP [Internet Protocol] address ranges in India deleting, moving, and abusing OSM data including subtle edits like reversing one-way streets," according to a blog post yesterday from OpenStreetMap founder Steve Coast, OSM sysadmin Grant Slater, and OSM Foundation board member Mikel Maron.

An analysis of data reveals that the activities were from the "same source" as a problem that came to light last week involving improper use of data from a Kenyan online business … Read more

Reporters' Roundtable: Facebook and privacy (podcast)

Our topic this week: Facebook and privacy. At the F8 conference on April 21, Facebook rolled out privacy changes and new data sharing features. As usually happens when Facebook makes a privacy change, there was a swift and mighty backlash against them. But this time, even the federal government is getting involved--four senators sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to roll back some of the new features.

Do the words Facebook and privacy even belong together anymore? What is going on at the world's largest social network?

To discuss, our guests today are two people who have studied the company in depth. First, in the studio, Declan McCullagh, our politics and policies reporter. And joining us in from Washington DC, Kara Swisher from All Things Digital and co-producer of the D8 conference with WSJ's Walt Mossberg. Thanks for joining us!

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Reporters' Roundtable: Twitter's business model (podcast)

Today: Twitter's business model. Yes, there is one. Finally. To talk about what Twitter is going to do--and if they really need to do it--we have two great guests with us here in the studio. First, from CNET, author of our social-networking blog The Social, Caroline McCarthy (@caro on Twitter). And from The New York Times, that paper's Twitter expert, Claire Cain Miller (@clariecm).

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Reporters' Roundtable: Can the iPad save journalism? (podcast)

Today's show: Can the iPad save newspapers and magazines? Or, to be more general, can tablets save journalism? It's an important topic and we have two excellent and overqualifiied guests to get into it.

First, in the studio, Damon Darlin, the technology editor of a small newspaper that's still printed on actually paper. You may have heard of it: The New York Times.

And joining us from his headquarters in New York, the founder, publisher and editor of ContentNext Media and the insightful PaidContent news site, Rafat Ali.

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