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Keyhole Now Live on Google Maps

Today Google integrated Keyhole into Google Maps. Here’s The Kelsey Group’s corporate offices. This is a companion view; Google’s high-resolution graphical mapping is still the default. Keyhole integration into Google Maps has been expected since the company was acquired late last year.

Of course, this is a beta and it doesn’t have 100 percent of the functionality of the client software version (nor will it). It offers an interesting, alternate view of locations and will be helpful in certain contexts (e.g., housing search, travel). But I had high expectations and was a bit frustrated that the maps didn’t zoom in closer in the two major metro areas I tested (Los Angeles and New York).

There is a novelty/wow factor here, which can’t be underestimated in the consumer context. But in the few searches I tried, I actually preferred the “cartographic” maps (the most recent upgrade before keyhole). They were cleaner and more pleasing to look at, subjectively speaking.

I would also like to see Google Maps do the kind of overlay (“Map Nearby”) that Yahoo! Maps offers.

Rest assured the product will get better—and so must the mapping functionality on Google’s competitors’ sites.

Here’s the verbatim press release:

In a continued effort to connect searchers with the information they need whether it’s across the Internet or in their neighborhood, today, Google announced the integration of Keyhole, a digital mapping service acquired by Google in 2004, into Google Maps. The integration enables Google Maps users to view maps and directions through Keyhole’s satellite and aerial high resolution digital photos. The new functionality is also available on the maps shown through Google Local.

The traditional graphical maps provided by Google Maps are still available through the service, as well as, Google Local. In addition, users can now select ‘Satellite’ mode and see actual overhead views of the area or route they have selected. As with the original Google Maps, the Keyhole maps enable users to zoom in and out, and navigate the satellite and aerial high resolution digital maps dynamically in any direction.

Keyhole will continue to offer its Keyhole 2 LT and PRO software products that provide interactive access to a streaming 3D global database of imagery and mapping information.

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Hotel Booking Links Now Available In Google Search & Maps

Last year, Google introduced a way for hotels to show free booking links. This month, Google announced an expansion of free booking links. These free links are now available on Search and Maps.

The travel industry is certainly showing signs of recovery since the pandemic, with “spring vacation” searches nearing the volume it was in 2023.

With travel rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, Google announced new tips to help hotels connect with and reach people who are ready to travel.

Free Bookings On Google

Consumers have may ways of searching for travel. Whether they search on chúng tôi or within the Maps app, hotels and travel partners can now extend their reach with free booking links.

Why The Change?

Since free hotel booking links were introduced, travel and hotel partners have seen noticeable benefits, including increased user engagement. Everyone from individual and boutique hotels to large travel agencies have seen the benefits.

One of the booking engines, “myhotelshop” has seen a 30% incremental increase in bookings during the summer of 2023.

New Reporting Available

With the expansion of free booking links into Search and Maps, new reporting is now available.

In the future, Google will be adding additional metrics, such as:


Booking value

Additional Program Updates

Google has made a well-deserved change to sharing rates and availability. Beginning in April 2023, individual hotels can manually input rates and availability through their Google Business Profile. There are certain eligibility requirements for this feature:

The business is verified on Google

The website has online booking enabled/available

This update eliminates the technical requirements that were previously needed to update information.

If you want to start using this feature, you must fill out the interest form from Google, which can be found here.

The other benefit of updating rates in your Google Business profile is to simultaneously highlight your unique offerings. Local Posts for Google Business Profile allows you to share updates in real-time around certain topics that matter most to travelers. Ideas can include:

Any hotel policy changes or updates due to COVID-19

Special features that your hotel offers, where competitor hotels do not

Showcasing your best images and videos of the hotel property


Because the traveler can book directly through your site, it eliminates additional barriers to completing the booking. This could help increase your conversion rates as well.

By creating more free booking link space, you can gain additional competitive bookings at no cost to you. If you’re not utilizing this program yet, get started by contacting Google through their interest form.

Source: Google

Featured Image: sdx15/Shutterstock

Five Reasons To Prefer Apple Maps Over Google Maps

Has there ever been an app that has caused so much of an uproar in the Apple community as Apple Maps? It was released in the fall of 2012 with iOS 6, and it was not received well to say the least. It was so poorly received that Tim Cook even wrote a letter apologizing for the poor launch of Apple Maps which contributed o the firing of Scott Forstall:

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

Now that we are almost six years into Apple Maps, I am of the opinion that Apple was right, certainly in a post Facebook privacy scandal world, to replace Google Maps with their in-house mapping product. In fact, Google Maps isn’t on my iPhone, and here are five reasons I prefer Apple Maps over Google Maps.

1. Privacy 

Apple and Google have drastically different business models, and a Maps product is a key part of that. In fact, Google even has a product where you can see where you’ve been in the past. It’s called Google Timeline. While I can see why some would love this feature, I do not. Apple’s privacy policy for Apple Maps is much more to my liking:

You don’t have to sign in to use Maps. Personalized features, like letting you know when it’s time to leave for your next appointment, are created using data on your device. The data that Maps collects while you use the app — like search terms, navigation routing, and traffic information — is associated with random identifiers so it can’t be tied to your Apple ID. These identifiers reset themselves as you use the app to ensure the best possible experience and to improve Maps. Maps extensions that are used in ride-booking and reservation apps run in their own sandboxes and share permissions with their own parent apps. For ride-booking apps, Maps shares only your starting point and destination with the extension. And when you reserve a table at a restaurant, the extension knows only the point of interest you tapped.

Location data is one of the most private things you can share with someone. I’m not a “tin-foil” hat type person, but I do not want an app tracking everywhere I go.

2. Siri Integration

Is Siri the best voice assistant on the market? Most definitely not, but I also find it incredibly useful in the car. Being able to say “Hey Siri, give me directions home” is incredibly helpful while driving. Unless Apple allows users to replace Siri with a new default assistant (Google or Amazon), Siri will remain the best Assistant for iPhone users. You can also ask for directions to specific places (Hey Siri, give me directs to 123 Main Street, etc.).

3. Apple Watch

In a period where a lot of Apple Watch apps are disappearing, Apple Maps remains a built-in (and useful) feature. When you have your iPhone doing navigation, Apple Watch will vibrate with alerts to turn. This feature also works with walking directions. This feature alone makes Apple Maps an incredibly attractive platform if you wear Apple Watch.

4. Yelp Integration

Instead of having to build a database of company reviews, Apple Maps has Yelp integration to populate data. Yelp has been around for years and has a plethora of great data about local businesses. In fact, I use Yelp quite a bit for restaurant reservations. The integration of the two apps is well done, and a key part of the Apple Maps experience. I’d love to see Apple look into features like restaurant recommendations though.

5. Good Enough Maps Data

If I had to pick a product based on the map data alone, it would be hard to choose anything but Google Maps. They’ve been around for a lot longer than Apple Maps, and are continually getting better. On the flip side, Apple Maps hasn’t given me incorrect information in years. My non-scientific opinion is that Apple Maps data is 85% as good as Google. That 85% is 100% of what I need, and the other benefits of Apple Maps outweigh any negatives.

One final reason I love Apple Maps: it lists if a business takes Apple Pay.

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How To Check Traffic With Google Maps

If you commute to work or travel regularly, you probably rely on Google Maps to get to your desired destination. The app offers a robust lineup of tools to make your commute smoother. But what happens when you hit traffic halfway to your destination or are concerned about the amount of traffic on the road before you leave the house? You can simply check the traffic with Google Maps.

Tip: make route planning more efficient with a few Google Maps extensions.

Checking Traffic in Google Maps

The traffic feature in Google Maps can come in handy when deciding which route to take to work or the grocery store. This feature color codes your map based on traffic volume, with green indicating no traffic delays, yellow or orange indicating medium traffic, and red indicating severe traffic delays.

Before you even begin your journey, you can quickly check the traffic conditions by following the steps below.

How to Check Traffic in Google Maps on Mobile

Open Google Maps from your mobile device.

Tap on the “Layers” icon in the upper-right portion of the screen.

In the “Map details” section, tap “Traffic.”

Exit the Layers section by tapping the “X” in its top-right corner.

How to Check Traffic on Google Maps on Desktop

Open a web browser and go to Google Maps.

Move your cursor to hover over the “Layers” thumbnail at the bottom left.

Finding an Alternate Route in Google Maps

Sometimes the “quickest” route by mileage isn’t as quick. Luckily, Google Maps makes it easy to select alternate routes after you enter your desired destination in the smartphone app or in your web browser.

How to Find an Alternate Route in Google Maps on Mobile

Open the Google Maps mobile app.

Tap on the “Directions” icon at the bottom right.

Enter your starting point and desired destination.

Once both locations are entered, touch the three dots next to the starting address.

Select “Route Options” from the menu options.

Tap the checkboxes next to each option you would like Google Maps to consider when planning your route. Press “Done” when you finish.

Still not happy with the route Google Maps has selected? See all of the alternate routes that display as gray lines on the screen. Tap on any of the options to select an alternate route.

How to Find an Alternate Route in Google Maps on Desktop

Enter your starting point and desired destination.

Once you’ve entered both destinations, multiple route options are displayed as a list. Compare options based on time, mileage, or traffic.

Google Maps will provide options based on devices linked to your Google account. Select one.

Note: if none of the devices or addresses are correct, you can add a new device to your Google account.

Frequently Asked Questions Does Google Maps show real-time traffic?

Yes, Google Maps displays real-time traffic status in most regions worldwide, which makes it easy for users to check whether there are traffic delays.

Why is Google Maps not showing traffic?

If you cannot pull up traffic data on Google Maps, you may need to update your application, check your data connection, or recalibrate your location services.

Image credit: PhotoMIX Company via Pexels. All Screenshots by Megan Glosson.

Megan Glosson

Megan Glosson is a freelance technology writer based in Nashville, TN. She has extensive experience working with everything from printers to smart home systems, and serves as the go-to “tech guru” for a small business that sells digital products. Megan has created thousands of articles for online publications and company blogs, including How-To Geek, Clean Email, and Review Geek.

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Google Clips Available Now

Google Clips available now – but AI camera isn’t impressing reviewers [Updated]

Google Clips, the company’s smart camera, is finally shipping, though whether it’s worth spending $249 on an AI to take your photos seems to be questionable. Announced last year alongside the Pixel 2, the standalone camera promises to use the same smarts that power Google Photos to snap stills and short videos of the entertaining things that kids and pets do to earn their keep, allowing you to stay in the moment in the process.

To do that, the deceptively simple Clips hardware calls upon some clever AI technology. The camera itself is little more than a small teal and white box with a lens on the front – which you twist to turn the whole thing on or off – and a button underneath it. You can manually trigger a photo, but the idea is that Clips makes those decisions itself.

The camera can either figure out what’s important itself: Google says it’ll prioritize smiles and action, and gradually learn to take more photos of the people it sees frequently. Alternatively, given access to some of the face metadata from your existing Google Photos account, you can jump-start the process by showing it who you think is most important. Clips can’t actually upload directly to the gallery service itself, mind; it needs to transfer shots to the companion app on your iPhone, Pixel, or Galaxy S7/S8 via Bluetooth and WiFi Direct first.

That process sounds moderately clunky, but serviceable, and does at least allow for some editing first. It’s also the first opportunity to see what Clips has captured, since the camera itself has no screen or even a way to frame the scene. That would presumably have sapped the 3-4 hours of active battery life even more.

The seven-second videos Clips captures are actually strings of photos, linked together into GIFs, short video files, or iOS Live Photos. You can extract a single frame from them as a regular image, or alternatively trim them down. There’s no sound, as Clips lacks a microphone, but the editing process has generally been well received.

What hasn’t gone down so well is the results of Clips’ efforts. For a start, while it packs 12-megapixels it uses a fixed-focus lens to ensure as much of the action is in focus as possible, The 130-degree lens is similarly broad-minded, which will have an impact on framing, and is f/2.4. Unfortunately, the photos and videos Clips actually captures aren’t exactly impressing reviewers.

“Your subjects also have to be within roughly 10 feet of the camera, lest they be tiny in the resulting image,” The Verge points out. “But the Clips’ fixed-focus lens has a range of about three feet to infinity, so nothing close to the camera is ever sharp.” The limitations of the sensor and lens because of that attempt to suit every situation are clear: “Images come back grainy and motion is blurry,” TechCrunch complains.

Trying to work around its foibles ends up becoming a chore in itself, indeed. “It’s designed to be used in such a specific way that it was difficult to find moments when using Clips was better than just pulling out my phone and snapping a photo,” TIME concludes, fairly damningly.

The positive thing about Clips is that, just as Google Photos has improved over time, Google could presumably also improve the AI at the controls of its tiny standalone camera. Whether that would ever be enough to justify the lackluster optics, however, remains to be seen. If you’re willing to take the chance, you can order Clips for $249 today.

Update: Google has reached out, eager that we recognize that not everybody had a middling experience with Clips. Sure enough, Wired describes the short video loops as “fun” and “easy to share” though wishes they were smoother, and ZDNet praises the battery life and, though the resolution and tendency to blur motion still come in for criticism, reports that they did get some video which they were pleased with the content of in the end. In short, Clips sounds like it could be fun though probably isn’t going to replace any other camera you have (nor, really, does Google suggest it will) and it’s down to you to decide if that’s worth the $249 sticker price.

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How To Enable Live Chat In Live Streaming On Youtube?

YouTube Live is a live streaming feature offered by YouTube that enables creators to connect with their viewers in real time via video and chat. It is like a traditional chatroom, but with the added feature of being able to chat with other viewers and send emojis on a real-time basis. One of the best things about live streaming chat is that you can easily connect with people from all over the world. You do not have to worry about language barriers since most viewers in a live streaming chat are chatting in English.

Chat within YouTube Live

While watching YouTube Live can be a great way to feel like you are seeing something as it happens, the chat feature is also a great way to connect with other people watching the live stream.

The live chat feature is enabled by default for live broadcasts and is available while the live event is active, although you can see the recorded chat if it is enabled (After the event ends, live chat is no longer available for that event.)

It can be a fun way to communicate with others while you are playing your favourite game or vlogging. It is the best way to interact with your viewers and generate a feeling of channel family. Another best thing about live streaming chat are that you can see how people are reacting to your videos.

How to enable live chat in live streaming on YouTube.

The step-by-step process to enable live chat while live streaming on YouTube is as follows −

Select “Go live.”

The following screen will open as soon as you Go Live.

On the left top of screen, you can see these three options.

Select the upper most choice. It is the stream feature.

You will get two options as Details and Customization.

Select Customization out of two.

You will get Live chat feature after selecting customization, enable live chat.

The live chat has been enabled.

Now you can see chatting and reaction icons on the left hand side of screen.

Start interacting from your viewers of live stream from this chat window.

The look of Poll on your chat window will look like image down below.

This is the final output of live stream after the chat is enabled.

The Live chat is deselected.

The chat had been disabled while live streaming only.

Manage live chat & captions

To create a secure, comfortable environment for all viewers, YouTube provides numerous options for managing your Live chat. There are some Live chat features −

Turn Live chat on or off.

Make your Live chat subscriber-only, members-only or for Anyone.

Review or block chat messages while Live chatting with certain words

Assign moderators to respond to or remove messages automatically.

Turn on “Slow Mode” to restrict the timing between chats of the viewers.

You can also choose to display a live chat replay alongside your video after your live stream has ended so people can view the conversation afterwards also.


For creators and anybody who wants real-time feedback on their work, real-time data, and ways that the group may engage with each other, live chat is an essential engagement method. Since it is necessary for individuals to be able to communicate with the broadcasters and one another, the audience places a high value on having a well-organized chat.

TV and internet videos have traditionally spoken to you. Without providing any acknowledgement, forcing you to remain there and consume the material. But with live chat, the audience can actively participate in the creator, community, and content for the first time. Their contribution to the content’s substance is recognized on-screen, yet they also contribute to the content’s direction in a variety of ways like super chat and super sticker.

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