When traveling the world, or just exploring the next town down the road, you can easily listen to what the guidebooks have to say. But one thing to consider is whether someone who spent time in that place actually wrote those entries. But now thanks to the technology of the digital age, everyone can share his/her maps and make maps a more social experience.
This can come in handy whether you’re heading off to a distant land, or if you just travel a lot on business. One new app that is lending a hand is waze, an upcoming free mapping app that will be available in the United States for the iPhone and Android Google handsets, which is aimed at drivers to help provide real-time road information. The app relies on driver-generated data to create road maps, but more importantly provide real-time traffic information to other commuters.
The waze app relies on GPS functionally, and automatically (and anonymously) sends back GPS points as you drive. This data from various users is pulled together to update the road grid and provide the real-time traffic information, letting users know about traffic flow, possible road changes and other information resulting in faster updates than many GPS services. Additionally, drivers can take an even more active role and report road events and map inaccuracies from the handset, or via the waze Web site.
The service launched last year in Israel and began testing this past spring in the United States. It will be available for free download later this year.
Apple’s Phil Schiller Responds to Ninjawords
MacWorld is reporting that Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, has responded to the issue over the Ninjawords dictionary app. This was the app that I discussed earlier this week, the one that was pulled for including “naughty words” and such.
The issue it seems isn’t just what Schiller describes as “common” swear words, but rather because it pulled from the wiki-based dictionary Wiktionary, which supposedly includes “urban slang” terms that many traditional dictionaries don’t often include. Exactly what words are being included isn’t clear, but neither is why this matters. The words are out there, and censoring an entire app is still rather silly.
To further complicate matters, Schiller also suggested that the censoring was made by Matchstick, the developer of Ninjawords. MacWorld says that because Schiller took the time to respond it “bodes well for the App Store.”
I must disagree. This is backpedaling and flip-flopping, and to some extent passing the buck. First the app was banned, then it was blamed on offensive urban slang, and finally Apple said the censoring was from the developer of the app. Schiller, along with Apple, should have either stood the ground and maintained that the app violated community standards (or whatever the original excuse was), or simply stated that the offensive urban slang and content from a wiki went too far. But at this point, I can’t figure out exactly who is to blame, or what the problem really is. When dealing with a crisis, even a minor one like this, companies should address it quickly and stand their ground.