Tag Archives | google

Google Maps Launches Subway Directions for Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Subway Directions in Google Maps

Ok, so we get things a bit slower here in Argentina…

Yesterday, Google Maps released a mass transit update for Argentina that now includes subway directions!

Yes, you can now use Google Maps to find out the best subway route to get to a specific destination. Unfortunately bus routes are not available, but give that another 5 years or so… (or use Omni Líneas on CualBondi)

Welcome to 2013!



Google Street View Comes To Argentina

Street View coming to Buenos Aires

Street View coming to Buenos Aires

UPDATE: Google Street View Argentina is now live!

Argentina’s always a little late to the party…

Google Maps didn’t launch here until November 2008, well behind its 2005 release and almost every other country. And, while we finally got maps, we did not get the popular street view feature.

Five years later, Google Street View is finally making its way to Argentina. The stated reason for the delay was the problem of obtaining the necessary permits to allow the street view cars to operate in the country. What? A bureaucratic delay in Argentina? How is that possible? :)

Anyhow, on October 2, Google is hosting a press event to show off the new street view cars and start the process of photographing the streets of Buenos Aires. (No word yet on what other cities may be available.)

Now, don’t expect street views to show up that quickly though. Google still has to process all the images and blur out faces and license plates. Still, it’s coming, so that’s big news!


Expat Tech: Google Voice Coming Soon

Google VoiceMore interesting news from Google – they have just announced Google Voice, a new service that will give you a new US phone number from Google with a slew of services to go along with it.  The basic premise of Google Voice is that you will have one number for all your phones, for life.  When this number is called, it can ring all of the phones that you have (home, work, cell) and also handle voice mail.  As these numbers change, your Google Voice number will remain the same.

Now, most expats are already using voice-over-ip (VOIP) services like Vonage or Skype, so why would you need this service?  While it’s true that this is not a VOIP service (yet) and you will still need an existing phone to place and receive calls, Google is offering a tremendous number of services that most other VOIP don’t provide – and they’re doing it for free.  Some of these services include:

  • Call US numbers for free and cheap international calling (might be cheaper than using another VOIP service)
  • Voicemail transcripts – receive your voicemail as email or text messages automatically converted from voice to text (Vonage charges $.25 per message for this)
  • Call screening – announce and screen callers
  • Listen in – listen before taking a call
  • Block calls
  • Taking calls – answer on any of your phones (No word on whether it will support international numbers or what the cost would be.)
  • Phone routing – phones ring based on who calls
  • Forwarding phones – add phones and decide which ring
  • Listen to voicemail – check online or from your phone
  • Notifications – receive voicemails via email or SMS
  • Personalize greetings – vary greetings by caller
  • Conference calling
  • Call record – record calls and store them online
  • Call switch – switch phones during a call
  • SMS – send, receive, and store SMS
  • And more… (Visit the Google Voice features page for the rest and to view short videos on these services)

The free SMS services are especially interesting since many expats are unable to send and receive US-based text messages, so this would be an easy way to enable that.  And, SMS text messages are becoming more and more critical as many US-based services use them as an additional measure of security for authenticating accounts (PayPal, Craigslist, etc.) or for approving bank transactions (I had this at Bank of America but had to turn it off when I moved to Argentina).

The downsides to Google Voice?

  • You will need to pick a new number from Google as there is not currently any way to transfer your existing number to them. This means changing your old number everywhere.
  • You still need a US based number for the call forwarding to work. At this time, the service is US only.  Though you could sign up just to get a free number with voicemail, SMS, etc. and not have the forwarding or calling features.
  • The Google Voice service is not yet available but will be rolling out over the next few weeks.  You can sign up to be notified when it launches.
  • There is no fax support, so it may not replace all of your numbers yet.

All things considered, it looks like an amazing service and I’ve already signed up for the wait list.  You can read more abotu Google Voice at:

–  Google Voice: A push to rewire your phone service [C|Net]
GrandCentral To (Finally) Launch As Google Voice. It’s Very, Very Good. [TechCrunch]


Expat Tech: Google Maps Argentina – Phase I

As we previously reported, Google Maps for Argentina launched yesterday.  After some initial testing, we found that the site works pretty for mapping address, but it is still missing some useful features and still has some quirks to be worked out:

  • Driving directions from point A to point B are unavailable (Google says it needs a couple of months)
  • No street level views (no word on when these are coming)
  • Satellite view does not let you zoom in as closely as in other major cities
  • The business search only returns limited results. For example, searching for “pizza nyc” returns almost 64,000 results on the NYC map. Search for “pizza buenos aires” returns 173 matches.  While it may not match NYC, there’s a lot more than 173 pizza places here.
  • In Buenos Aires, we type the street number after the street name, for example: Soler 5608 rather than 5608 Soler.  Well, Google seems to like reversing this and putting the number first.
  • There’s no traffic updates (don’t expect this soon)
  • The subway stops are not marked

Overall, it’s a good first effort, but it’s going to be sometime before I drop my use of the Mapa de Buenos Aires site with it’s driving as well as walking directions.

One nice thing for us bloggers is that it’s now very easy to include a map of places that we’re talking about in our WordPress blogs using the Geopress Plugin. Once the plugin is installed, it’s easy to include a Google map for any of the places that we refer to – like this one for the location of my favorite restaurant, Osaka. (only viewable on the full post page, not the index)

Tech Note: If you’re installing this plugin, you may need to edit the mapstraction.js file included with the GeoPress plugin to avoid errors in your WordPress admin.  To do this, make the following changes:

Line 27, change:
function $() { 
function $m() {

Line 111, change:
   this.mapElement = $(element);
   this.mapElement = $m(element);

Line 1329, change:
         var el = $(this.pinID + “_” + this.map.GUID).onmouseover;
         var el = $m(this.pinID + “_” + this.map.GUID).onmouseover;