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The popular unofficial Google Maps app for Windows Phone has been updated to version 2.1. gMaps has been available on the platform for some time and it's good to see more updates published by the developer. gMaps (both the free and pro version) were previously bumped to version 2.0, adding Windows Phone 8 support. So what's new in this latest release? Street View has been refreshed and a number of improvements have been implemented.

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Although we know many of you are diehard Bing fans and loathe anything by Google, we won’t look down upon you at all if you so occasionally choose to flirt with Google Maps on Windows Phone. While Google has infamously declared they have no plans for any official Windows Phone apps, developer Alexey Strakh has been working on his clone, gMaps, for quite some time now on Windows Phone.

Version 2.0 for the Pro version went live at the beginning of January and now its free sibling also just received a nice bump, including some Windows Phone 8 support. Although no changelog is posted, we can tell you that for Windows Phone 8 it does now support a doublewide Tile in addition to the smaller Tile...

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gMaps Pro for Windows Phone: Video Overview

gMaps Pro for Windows Phone was recently re-introduced to the Marketplace. Due to gMaps Pro being re-introduced to the Marketplace, previous versions aren't eligible for future updates.  To help those who will need to re-purchase gMaps Pro, the developer offered it as a free app this past Friday.  I managed to miss that day but as the app looked so good I parted with my money and made the purchase.

As I have been so impressed I thought the app was worthy of a video demonstration or walk through to give everyone a feel for the app. As you can see there are some great features built into the application and it looks good too.  Features include:

  • Discover places or use local search
  • See your friends and share location with Google Latitude
  • Navigation with direction and rerouting
  • Multilingual. Supports more than 40 Google languages. Fully localized for 8 languages
  • Layers Weather, Bikes and all other maps
  • Share map by email/message

The latest update, version 1.23, includes 'street view' which seems to work pretty well.  

Although Bing search on Windows Phone does a similar job I much prefer gMaps Pro. There is a free version of gMaps available but it is ad supported, which may not appeal to everyone. The gMaps Pro version is currently running $1.99 and a worthy purchase if you ask us.

You can find the free, ad-supported version of gMaps here and the ad-free version of gMaps Pro here (has a trial version) at the Windows Phone Marketplace.


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Recently, Microsoft announced some recent changes to the Windows Phone Marketplace for developers that would also affect consumers. The changes were divided into four areas, including trademarks, bulk publishing, keywords and content policy. What concerns us here is the trademarks section.

In short, apps that violate trademarks of other companies are now subject to more restrictive oversight in the Marketplace. Microsoft had this to say on the matter, which is a fair position:

"When a trademark or copyright owner contacts us about a suspected violation, we investigate and pull apps when the complaint is valid. Lately we’ve been doing more of this, especially for trademark misuse. Sometimes the requests come from the owners of big, well-known brands. Other times they come from new brands. Either way, we often find trademark violations are unintentional: some developers just aren’t clear on what constitutes a violation. But these investigations—and the time and money they can cost—can be avoided by doing a little homework before submitting or updating your app."

A few curious examples of this actually do exist in the Windows Phone Marketplace, some of which you'll be familiar with including YouTube Pro, gMaps, YouTube Live and YouTube Downloader.

Did you notice anything in common with those? If you said those sound like Google names, you would be right and evidently Google are rightly flexing their muscle on the matter, sending out copyright infringement complaints to numerous developers over their use of their trademarked names.

The developer of YouTube Live, which we've covered before, just received such a notice which is partially re-printed below:

"This message is to notify you that Microsoft has received Content Infringement Complaint (“Complaint”) regarding your application Youtube Live. A copy of the Complaint is attached for your review.

Remove Application Access Immediately

You must remove access to the application from the Marketplace within one business day.  If your application is still available for download after one business day,Microsoft may remove the application without further notice.  Please note that under certain circumstances Microsoft may remove your app immediately without providing you the opportunity to remove it."

While this is certainly a blow to many of our favorite developers on the platform, it should not come too much as a surprise that these apps infringe on Google's ownership of those names. Of course, being as we're more of a Microsoft site and Google is not on good terms with Windows Phone this will certainly rub people the wrong way. Especially since Google has not bothered to support Windows Phone at all with their services.

Having said that, Google is technically in the right here and we don't begrudge them for taking action. We also want to let devs know that Microsoft is serious about this copyright stuff so give some thought to your app's name before Marketplace submission, m'kay?

We hope to see these outstanding apps back in the Marketplace soon but under new names.

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gMaps Pro is our go-to app when we want some Google services on our Windows Phone (since Google is evidently too busy fixing Android to make WP7 apps). We've been waiting on a Mango update for a few weeks now and developer Alexy Strakh has not dissapointed.

New features in v1.12 include:

  • Compass support (shows what direction you're facing)
  • Latitude background agent
  • New bicycle layer
  • Ability to hide buttons on the map
  • Public transportation quick access
  • Contact database access--now you can route a contact's address directly

Having Latitude update automatically in the background is a great addition, finally making this a true Google Latitude app. The compass feature makes it that much more useful (why Bing Maps doesn't do this, we have no idea). So overall, this is a great app that keeps getting better.

You can pick up the ad-free "Pro" version for $1.99 (our choice) here or the ad-supported free version here in the Marketplace.

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Here's a pleasant surprise, gMaps Pro (see earlier coverage) developer Alexey Strakh has managed a first for Windows Phone: Google Latitude.

Yup, starting with v111.0, users can now login to their Google Latitude account, see themselves and others on the map or as a list. It seems to work pretty well from our few minutes playing around--heck it even pulls down your avatar photo. Friends appear as green generic icons, tapping them brings up their info, location last check time, coordinates and ability to get directions to them. Other notable additions to v1.11.0:

  • Localization for English, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Русский, Беларускi languages
  • New weather layer

We've called gMaps Pro the best Google Maps app on Windows Phone and today's update reasserts that with these new features. There is also a free gMaps in the Marketplace, but note that it lacks these advanced and much coveted options. There's a free trial of gMaps Pro and it can bought for a fair $1.99. Grab it here in the Marketplace if interested.

Edit: App is not Mango-specific, it will work on NoDo phones as well

Big thanks, Mark Tepper (@BinaerJongleur), for the tip!

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gMaps hits v1.10 and gets real good

Speaking of Google apps, gMaps (free) and gMaps Pro ($1.99) are fairly popular unofficial Google Maps applications that have been around for awhile. Version 1.10 just hit the Marketplace and as with each version, it keeps getting better and better--so good in fact, we're ready to give it a big thumbs up.

The latest version gets some theme support (uses your accent color), zoom buttons, geo-location info for any object and a few other tidying up features.

We like it for the alternate view to Bing maps, the traffic info (including "follow me" for tracking) and the layers for viewing (street, hybrid, physical, water-overlay, satellite). The ability to "screen shot" the map to send to others is pretty smart and if you're in the city like us, the public transport layer is quite handy for finding that subway.

So if you're looking for one of the best non-official Google Maps out there, here you go. Free version is here in the Marketplace and the $1.99 ad-free version is here.

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We mentioned a few weeks ago about a proof-of-concept when it comes to Windows Phone 7 and Google Maps, namely that if Google didn't do it (and do it soon) someone else would because it's very easy to redirect an app towards Google's map servers.

Looks like Tech Autos has accepted the challenge and released a simple but fully functional Google Maps application. The app right just brings down the maps and shows your location, so not too useful. But the developer plans to add  Address / point-of-interest search, Directions and Favorites, making the program much more useful.

The bad news: You have to have your phone unlocked/jailbroken as a developer or by using the now defunct ChevronWP7. The latter is more difficult because you actually need a certificate that was hosted on their servers. Luckily XDA has your back on that one.

Source: TechAutos; via Ali waqas; Thanks, Ali!


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