“Unfortunately. Maps has stopped”

I’m a recent convert to an Android phone and so far I’m really pleased with it. It seems to offer me the flexibility that I want (and didn’t get from my old iPhone). Recently, however I’ve been getting this error message from Google’s Maps application.

Google Maps Stopped Error

 

This isn’t just a minor annoyance when I’m using the application, it pops up all the time. I presumed that this may be a problem that was only affecting me, but when I saw it on my wife’s Nexus 7, I realised that it must be more widespread.

I had a quick look on the PlayStore and saw that there were a number of comments/complaints about this same problem. I was not alone…..

I decided to try a reinstall, but this isn’t possible for built-in applications. You can uninstall and then reinstall the updates to the built-in application, but that didn’t work for me. The error came back.

The only way to stop the error from occurring is to downgrade Maps to the factory installed version. This is how you do it.

First open Application Manager.
Swipe down from the top of the screen and click the “cog” icon in the top right-hand corner. Then select the “More” tab and press “Application Manager”.

Scroll/swipe until you see the “Maps” application.(like the screen below).

AppInfo

 

Press “Uninstall Updates”

 

Uninstall

Press “OK” to confirm that you want to uninstall the updates.

At this point you’ll be warned that the upgraded application will be replaced with the factory version.

REplace

Press “OK” and you can revert to using the older version. The application will prompt you to upgrade it from time to time, but you can ignore those prompts to upgrade and restore your phone/tablet to working order.

My only worry is that when the KitKat 4.4 upgrade for Android comes along, it’ll bring with it the newer version of Maps, this could be a reason for holding back on that upgrade until you know that other users are happy with it and that this problem doesn’t reoccur for KitKat users.

Google Latitude contacts disappeared…now fixed

I’ve used Google Latitude for about four years now and have found the application really useful. For those of you who don’t know, Latitude is an app that you install on your smart phone (it supports Android, Blackberry or iOS) and it keeps track of your location. You can then use this information how you wish. You can share it with friends or family, so that they know where you are in real time, or just use it to maintain a history of where you’ve been. (I find it useful for expense claims when I can’t remember how many miles I’ve done or exactly which day I visited a particular client).

typicalday

About 2 months ago my wife asked why I wasn’t showing up on her list of contacts on her iPhone. I had a look at my own iPhone and saw that I had “no contacts” either. I hadn’t made any changes to my privacy settings and thought it was curious that it affected both me and my wife on multiple devices. (Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs, multiple different browsers including Chrome) as well as on my iPad and iPhone. As a result of this, I suspected that the problem was with Google.

I tried deleting and adding my wife as a “Latitude contact”. Despite clicking on the invitations that we sent each other and accepting the request to share location information we never appeared in each others contact lists.

Searching for answers I found plenty of discussions on internet forums. Several people had reported that this was due to new privacy settings which coincided with a new release of Google Maps. The only solution seemed to be to log onto an android device and enable location sharing again.

But I  don’t have an Android tablet…..

As an application tester, I’m reasonably au fait with virtualisation, so I had a quick look around the internet and I found this website which contains OVA files with images of Android Tablet devices. These can be used to emulate an Android tablet. http://androvm.org/blog/download/

Android tablet in VMWare Player
Android tablet in VMWare Player

These are the steps that I took to fix my problem

  • I already had VMWare Player on my home PC.
    (Download and install this if you don’t already have a copy)
  • Downloaded a suitable OVA file
  • Open it in VMWare Player, created a new virtual machine
  • Start the VM and “boot up” your Android tablet
  • Choose a country location and go through the basic setup
    (including typing in your google account credentials.)
  • Open the Google Play Store
  • Install Google Maps
  • Once Google Maps is installed, open maps and enable the “Latitude layer”
  • Enable location sharing
Google Maps
Google Maps

“Hey presto” almost immediately all your devices will repopulate your friends lists and location sharing will work again.

Latitude screenshot
Latitude screenshot

It looks like the new version of Google Maps for Android has the functionality to enable sharing and accept invitations but this doesn’t work for existing, non-Android users, including those of us using iPhones.

If you’ve deleted friends whilst trying to fix the problem get your friends to send an invitation whilst you’re logged into your “new tablet” and you can accept the invitation and enable location sharing from within the Maps application.

Google Cloud Print – Is this Google’s best kept secret?

Printing to your iPhone or iPad
Yesterday I was in the TrustIV office and I registered to attend a Microsoft Partner event in Manchester. At the end of the process I was advised to print a copy of the ticket to take with me so that I could be given access on the day of the event.

I had registered using Google Chrome browser but because I rebuilt my laptop last week I didn’t have a default printer. Perhaps this is what drew my attention to a printer that I didn’t remember configuring.

Chrome screenshot

As well as this, I noticed a link to my iPad. I have installed Google Chrome on each of these devices but until now I hadn’t noticed that this gave printer support.

I printed my ticket to the iPhone and within a few seconds I was a pop-up on my iPhone to say that a document was ready to view. Clicking on the link opened Google Chrome where I could view a copy of my document…… or so I thought.

iPhone screenshot - document ready

 

When Chrome opened I saw a warning message saying that I had to sign in and enable the print-to-phone feature to see my documents.

iPhone screenshot - Print-to-phone jobs are available: please sign in and enable this feature to get data

 

I wasn’t sure how to do this initially but then I found that if I opened  “Settings” -> Basics, then clicked on my Google account name, I was able to enable the “Chrome to Mobile” setting which meant that I could view my printed documents.

 

So far so good, but a little experimentation showed me even more features.

Printing from your iPhone/iPad
By modifying settings in Chrome it is possible to allow iPhones or iPads to print to your PC or laptop printer. [Other devices are available – Ed]

  • Open Chrome settings (using your mouse to click the “three horizontal lines” icon or typing chrome://settings/ in the address bar.
  • Click “Show advanced settings…”
  • Scroll down to “Google Cloud Print”
  • Click “Manage Print Settings”

This opens a page where you can grant different Google accounts access to your laptop or PC printers. Once you do this it is possible to print directly to your shared printers from within your iPhone applications.

This is such a useful feature, I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard of it until now.