You probably know “Street View” in Google Maps. But did you know that you can see inside buildings your friends are in, if they have “Location Sharing” enabled?
At home on the East Coast, my friends were able to see inside my hotel room in Chicago, next to a map with my exact address. They could even see the wallpaper and pillows in my room. When I moved to the other side of the room, they saw the sofa. When I was at a Cubs game, they could see the seats. In an art museum, they could see the painting I was looking at. But they couldn’t see me in any of the photos. These interior shots, like Google’s “street view”, were taken by the Google team on an earlier date.
I have no problem sharing my location with my family or close friends. But others might not like it. A suspicious spouse could see if his partner was still in the office or if his teenager was really in the library. Location sharing also lets you see if the other person’s phone battery is low or plugged in.
To turn it on or off, or to see someone’s location – if you’re sharing yours – search for “Location Sharing” on Maps.Google.com by tapping the hamburger icon (three stacked lines). It’s just after “Covid-19 info”. But keep in mind that you can only see the photos of your friends’ location by going to the Google Maps website. The phone app simply shows you a point on a map.
At a Lyft the other day, I noticed that the driver’s screen had a lot of cool apps on it. But he wasn’t using Apple CarPlay. It was a system that came with his car. I was curious because a reader recently mentioned CarPlay, which also puts apps on your car’s screen.
“So what’s new with CarPlay in new cars?” asked the reader. Well here’s one thing: you can unlock your 2021 car by touching your iPhone on the handle. You can even give virtual keys to other people so they can use their phones in your car.
If you don’t have a 2021 car, but have iOS 14 operating system on your phone, you get some other cool stuff from CarPlay. For example, you can ask Siri to send a friend or contact your estimated time of arrival. Or ask her to send a voicemail instead of texting or calling someone.
The iOS 14 operating system also brings new CarPlay categories, including one for parking, one for electric vehicle charging stations and one for ordering food. There is also one-click access to selected destinations, with detailed information on what to do while there. New CarPlay wallpapers brighten up the background of your car screen.
CarPlay can be found under “Settings”. To use it, all you need is a data plan and an iPhone 5 or newer, as well as a car built in 2014 or later. You can use a wireless or wired connection with the phone. Watch a YouTube video titled “What’s New with CarPlay in iOS 14” to see its features in action.
For Android users, there is Android Auto. Like CarPlay, it lets you use your car’s screen to communicate, navigate, be entertained, and get answers. It works with Android 6 or newer and a data plan. More cars have CarPlay than Android Auto, but Porsche recently announced it will be offering it in new or first-time cars and the list of Android Auto compatible cars just kept growing.
ALEXA, CALL ME BACK!
Alexa is good at reminders. As I was typing this, she threw up and said, “I remind you, Women’s Club Tea.”
To set it up, I said to Alexa, “Alexa, call me back tomorrow at 2:45 p.m.” Https://www.nwaonline.com/news/2021/may/29/sharing-location-in-google-maps- shows-friends / “What should I remind you?” she asked. “Women’s club tea,” I say.
In her early days, when I asked for a callback, she failed badly. When the time came, she would say: “you have a reminder”, without telling me what it was. Now Alexa is right.
WATCH NETFLIX ON THE ROAD
Unless you have unlimited data, watching Netflix on a train or away from home can get expensive. The default setting uses three gigabytes per hour for high definition and seven gigabytes per hour for ultra HD. Choose the “low” setting and you will only use three tenths of a gigabyte per hour.
Here’s how: Open Netflix in a browser like Chrome or Edge. Click on the arrow next to the icon that represents you and click on your account. Under “Playback settings” you will find the low setting.
I will never play a PG movie for a kid again without checking online to make sure it’s appropriate. Even if the child says his parents let them watch anything from PG-13, that can be a big mistake.
According to a UCLA analysis, films tagged PG-13 in 2007 would have been rated R in 1997. It’s probably worse now. So what should a parent, parent, or babysitter do?
Commonsensemedia.org is the best guide I have found. They list all the questionable scenes and let you decide. That’s $ 30 a year after your first three free reviews.
Kids-in-Mind.com, a free site, also analyzes movies. But it’s not as good as CommonSense.