Khaled rambles technology, tea/coffee, consumer rights and other interest from Saudi Arabia

November 29, 2010

Google fails in Saudi Arabia

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 1:03 pm

Update: Google updated Riyadh’s satellite images to something from late 2010. The maps however are still outdated.

I complained many times about the extremely useless and out of date Google Maps for Saudi Arabia: roads are from 2004 and you can’t even get basic directions! Allright, Google have problems with all the red tape, we get that. But I was shocked to see Microsoft Bing Maps already supporting very recent maps of Saudi Arabia.

Here’s an example, Al Oruba st intersection with Prince Turki st, in 2004/2005 a northern road was constructed turning it from a T-shape intersection to a normal intersection. Here’s the satellite images on Google Maps:

Now here’s the regular map on Google Maps. 6 years later and it’s still the same:

Now let’s have a look at Microsoft Bing Maps:

Bing Maps is up to date with the Saudi map, how come Google isn’t? Is Google being denied?

If Google allowed us to use the Google Map Maker it would not have happened.

The Bing Maps do not have any points of interest but that didn’t stop Microsoft from allowing us to use navigation on the map! Google Maps can’t figure a simple straight line:

While Bing is EXTREMELY USEFUL even without points of interest:

Another example of Google’s failure in the region: the lack of an Android Market in Saudi Arabia. This is Motorola’s response to @Yalmisfer when he asked why is his Motorola Milestone Android phone is lacking an Android Marketplace:

Android Market was removed per requirements of Google in the individual Arabic regions such as UAE, Egypt, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

The same is happening with the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Samsung Galaxy S apparently. Google doesn’t need to release an Arabic Android market, they don’t even support Arabic language natively in Android until now!

@Yalmisfer also got to talk with Samsung Middle East:

I got a call from the firm doing the PR for ME for Galaxy and they are asking me to try it and write a review about, I asked them and the answer was No market for Middle East

My rant is over.

November 28, 2009

Add points of interest to the Saudi map using Gowalla

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , — Khaled A. @ 7:31 pm

I gave up on Google. After so many posts asking for Google to simply allow us to contribute to our own map, Saudi Arabia and UAE are still editable. The rest of the GCC: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman have been available for a while. Of course the only alternative is not even good for that.

So I highly recommend using Gowalla to add points of interests in the Saudi map. It’s available as an iPhone app and you can read more about it at TechCrunch. A group of iPhone users in Saudi Arabia are already using Gowalla and we are slowly populating it with actual data!

I hope to see Gowalla’s data being used in other databases, but right now it is the only acceptable method of adding points of interests.

March 21, 2009

Ask Google Map Maker to allow editing of Saudi Arabia maps

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 11:40 am

Last year we tried to ask Google to add Saudi Arabia’s map. They finally did but the maps are out of date an inaccurate. We need to ask Google to enable us to edit the Saudi Arabia map using the Google Map Maker.

Right now Google Map Maker supports 164 countries, but it is missing Saudi Arabia and UAE.

I have created a new post in the Google Map Maker group about adding Saudi Arabia. I will add the link to the post once it appears in the group. Here is the new Google Map Maker Group thread about Saudi Arabia and UAE.

If it did not go well we should just switch to OpenStreetMap.

March 13, 2009

Google Map Maker still lacks Saudi Arabia, UAE

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 11:47 pm

Google map maker has increased their list of supported countries to 164. Which includes Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar but for some unknown reason is still missing Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Unfortunately we have to wait even more and we know how slow google is to update their google mobile maps. The data on google maps mobile is is different than the regular desktop google maps. The iPhone 3G GPS function is useless in Saudi Arabia since you can’t install your own maps or use Google maps’ data. You can’t even use any form of navigation or driving directions for Saudi Arabia maps in google maps.

Saudis mainly use WikiMapia to add data on google maps at the moment. Google needs to listen to it’s users. We are still waiting, google.

September 9, 2008

Google Map Maker responds regarding Saudi Arabia’s maps

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 10:17 pm

Just thought I would share this email that I got from the Google Team regarding Saudi Arabia on Google Maps.

Hello Khaled, Thank you for your email and your interest in Map Maker. Currently 57 countries are open for map editing on Map Maker. However, Saudi Arabia is not a part of the countries, for which content can be created or edited on Map Maker. We apologize for the inconvenience. We will make a public announcement when any new country will be open for editing. Regarding your concern over the error on Google Maps, we appreciate the effort of you escalating this. You may also add the correct information using My Maps. Please visit the link below to know more on this. If you have additional questions, please visit the Google Map Maker Help Center, where you will find answers to many frequently asked questions about Google Map Maker. Sincerely, Tasneem The Google Team

September 6, 2008

Google Maps finally adds Saudi Arabia

Filed under: General — Tags: , — Khaled A. @ 1:42 pm

Google Maps finally added real maps of Saudi Arabia to replace the random lines that made no sense. The maps are provided by Navteq (I prefer TeleAtlas, they are more accurate with the Saudi Arabia maps). And you can even find some local businesses by searching at the site. But there are problems with the Navteq maps, they are still 4 years old and this is one of many examples:

View Larger Map That new extended road as you see on the satellite image was added late 2004 and Navteq did not update their database until now. I already submitted the correction to the map reporter tool two months ago and Navteq did not fix it yet. But this is progress, Google Maps is actually more useful for viewing Saudi Arabia maps than it ever was and hopefully it will continue to improve.

June 29, 2008

Ask Google “Map Maker” to add Saudi Arabia maps

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 12:48 pm

Google added a service called “Map Maker” to help adding streets and locations in their database. This service allows you to add streets, businesses, and more information. Unfortunatly this service only allows editing of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Grenada, Iceland, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, Pakistan, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam. No Saudi Arabia even though we have a very limited and outdated road maps of Saudi Arabia as you can see here. This is the current list of editable countries. To help add Saudi Arabia to that list go to the Google Map Maker Google Group and make a post about adding Saudi Arabia to the list. Or just reply to this thread that I started.

[Found via Google Operating System blog]

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