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In The News 12-02-2011

In The News 12-02-2011
Your weekly update in the world of technology

Google Maps Indoor

Google Is Now Your Store Directory

Google has done what most mapping companies have yet to do – gone inside.  On Tuesday Google launched Google Maps 6.0 for Android.  This version of mobile Google Maps allows people to see a layout of an indoor location, including departments, bathrooms, restaurants, and other stores.  It even allows the ability to see multiple floor levels.

Google hasn’t mapped out every indoor space just yet, however.  Locations that are using the new indoor mapping are so far limited to buildings and areas that handle large crowds.  Google partnered with more than 25 major businesses and travel centers including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and airports in San Francisco and Chicago.

The big issue so far with the indoor mapping is the unreliability of GPS indoors.  However, Google has been able to improve the accuracy of the “blue dot” feature to approximately 5-10 meters, according to Maps project manager Steve Lee.  Google also hopes to bring in more businesses and other indoor areas, though it may take time as many of these areas are private spaces.

Apple and Amazon - Black Friday Kings

Apple, Amazon Are Your Black Friday Kings

Last Friday, as we all know, was Black Friday. As usual, tech sales were also very strong.  This year Apple and Amazon were the leaders in Black Friday tech sales after both reaching record sales numbers.

Apple retail stores had not only their biggest Black Friday, but their biggest sales day in general of all time.  According to the Apple blog 9to5 Mac, the company had predicted sales numbers to be four times larger than normal.  These sales included iPads, being sold at a rate of 14.8 per hour, and Macs, being sold at a rate of 10.1 per hour.  75% of stores also sold out of the iPhone 4S by the end of Friday.

Amazon, not to be outdone, had their biggest day ever with their Kindle e-reader line.  According to Amazon, customers bought four times the amount they bought last year on Black Friday.  One item that helped increase these sales numbers was the Kindle Fire.  Despite being less powerful than Apple’s iPad 2, the Fire is a strong competitor at $199, which is $300 less than the cheapest iPad 2.

Cyber Monday

That’s A Lot Of People Shopping In Their Underwear

Tech and online sales once again got a boost last Monday, which is referred to as Cyber Monday.  This year’s Cyber Monday sales numbers reached upwards to $1.25 billion, making it the highest-grossing day for shopping online in history.  Many websites, including Sony, Apple, and Amazon.com noticed a large increase in traffic on Monday to go along with the special deals they were each offering.

Many companies have realized they can double the impact of their post-Thanksgiving sales by not only having Black Friday deals, but also special deals for Cyber Monday.  Many of these businesses hope to keep the momentum going through the Black Friday weekend and into the following week.  It seems to be working, as sales this past Monday are 22% higher than last year’s previous record.