Google have begun to add an option for bike routes within Google Maps:
This has already been a feature of OpenStreetMap for quite some time, but it’s nice for Google to catch up. Something Google add which I don’t think is in the OSM data is a kind of ‘quality’, where dedicated (no cars) bike paths are one colour, roads with bike lanes are another colour, and other preferred biking roads have a dotted line. Although I’m a little curious about how they get the kind of information to highlight the dotted line routes, I think this is a great addition to Google Maps for all those who are keen bikers.
I don’t know how I missed it, but within Google Latitude there are now options for sharing your location with others. Just go to the Google Latitude Applications page and enable the options that suit you. There’s an option to allow your IM contacts to see your location within GTalk (Jabber), and there are also options to get alerts from friends when you’re close, but away from your ‘usual locations’.
One of the more interesting features is the Public Location Badge. Although a possible privacy nightmare, having access to your location in KML and JSON format means that developers can start to utilise location without having develop individual mobile clients that use the GPS. Personally I would like to see the WordPress GeoRSS plugin use it to suggest my location when writing these posts.
I think there’s an additional corner which could be cut if we really opened up, by using the location information stored within the mobile operator’s network to give a rough location, without even having to run an application on the phone at all. This might sound closer to a 1984 scenario than anything before it, but the possibilities of knitting services tightly around the location of it’s users would be an incredibly valuable prospect.