Homebrewer brings Google Maps back to webOS, makes it so much better than before | webOS Nation

Homebrewer brings Google Maps back to webOS, makes it so much better than before 77

by Derek Kessler Fri, 20 Apr 2012 9:50 pm EDT

aHomebrewer brings Google Maps back to webOS, makes it so much better than befor

webOS launched with Google Maps integration, but after Palm was bought by Microsoft best-buddy HP, they switched over to Redmond's solution of Bing Maps. There are reasons to like Bing Maps - the "birds eye" view available to TouchPad users is especially nifty. But there are plenty of reasons to mourn the loss of Google Maps, including Google's superior mass transit directions and international coverage. That said, the webOS Google Maps app had fallen way behind, and by the time the switch was made to Bing, Google had plans to deprecate the Maps API used in webOS, so the app was bound to die eventually anyway. Rather than remake it with Google, HP did best bud Microsoft a favor and switched to Bing.

We didn't like it then, and we still don't like it today. In our not-so-humble opinion, Google Maps is the superior mapping solution, for everything from traffic to just finding things. Google Maps also includes incredibly handy features like Street View for seeing what it looks like at ground level or Terrain mapping.
webOS Nation Forum member and homebrew developer 72ka decided that he too was tired of Bing Maps, and as a European webOS user, he was even more frustrated by HP's switching. So he did what any enterprising developer would do and made his own Google Maps app that puts both the new Bing Maps and old Google Maps apps for webOS to shame. As in never show your face in public again because everbody avoids making eye contact with you because they see you as wholly inadequate and you know it even though you don't want to admit it shame.

Let's run down what the new homebrew Google Maps app brings to the table: View maps as standard streets, aerial photography, combined hybrid, or terrain; routing directions, including easily to or from search results; multi-touch, double-tap, and button-controlled zoom levels, a handy distance scale at the bottom, as-you-type search suggestions; Just Type integration; landscape support for all views; current traffic overlay; and Street View. Yes, Google Maps Street View. And it's even more awesome than you can get in the browser version of Google Maps - here you can zoom out to a super wide angle 180° view.

Also, unlike some of the other attempts at making a replacement mapping app, the homebrewed Google Maps is actually attractive. It looks like it belongs on the device. The app is also a Mojo app, so it works delightfully well on all webOS devices, without all of the jitters and lag we've come to associate with the Enyo-based Bing Maps app on webOS smartphones. It's relatively smooth on everything from the Pre to the TouchPad. Oddly, though it doesn't behave as well on the Pre3, despite being the most powerful of webOS smartphones. Perhaps having 2.5 times the pixels of any other webOS smartphone is more than webOS and the app can handle at this point. We're hopeful it'll get ironed out soon enough, as the developer notes this is still at an "early development state".

Really, there's only one place that we see the homebrew Google Maps falling short of the admittedly not-that-high mark set by the Bing Maps app: there's no bookmarking support for your favorite locations. It's not a huge deal, but it's nice to have. That said, developer 72ka has a favorite locations implementation in mind, and if all goes according to plan it'll even be tied into your Google account, so you'll be able to manage your favorites from any computer. We heart the cloud. Google Maps by 72ka is available now from the webOS Nation Homebrew Gallery and can be installed via WebOS Quick Install or Preware. There's more we migh want to say, but we just too darned excited to have the potential for a powerful, attractive, and intuitive Google Maps app back on our webOS devices.


Been there (Preware), done that (downloaded it). ;-)

For the little I've tried it, looks, feels and performs really good.


Wow. This is amazing.

How to download ?

If you already have preware just search for google maps on it

In my city - Portland, Google maps has a great integration with the mass transit system. I've been using Advanced Browser for access to it (still awkward). I HAVE to try this "Google Maps by 72ka".

With the TP I can honestly say I tried my best to become a Bing user. Eventually I just stopped using the TP for maps (...until I got Advanced Browser). After trying to live with Bing, I learned to hate it. I removed it from my TP as much as possible.

This weekend I'm going to finally load Preware because of this ! YAY

UPDATE: Got preware running and installed (easy). "Google Maps by 72ka" doesn't have the "By Transit" tab yet. [I imagine/confident it will be added]

Really impressed with the Street View on my TP !!!

Right on! I've been waiting for something like this. I average paid edition of BFG Maps--a great google maps replacement--on my Verizon Pre 2. In my opinion, that was even better than the original webOS google maps app (in fact, I believe it deserves to be mentioned here as one of the exemplary forerunners to google maps upgrade apps). Unfortunately, after the Bing replacement, BFG is very unstable, regularly causing my phone to reboot after only a few seconds of opening the app. I'm not sure what is broken, but it was really disappointing not being able to use BFG Maps.

I drive a lot--at least 50 miles round trio to and from the office each day, plus driving to client sites, etc. I live in the DC area--the nations #1 worst traffic area. So I depend a ton on the traffic feature in my maps apps. For some very strange reason, the Bing Maps app does not have any granularity of traffic details, so unless you are on an interstate or equivalent limited access highway, it has ZERO traffic info. Google Maps, on the other hand, goes down to even neighborhood streets if you choose to zoom in that far. The odd thing is that Microsoft is the source of the technology that allows Google to provide those granular traffic details.

in any case, I am really, REALLY stoked to download and start using a Google Maps app that actually works without shutting down my device. I will be donating to show my support!

Very laggy/unresponsive on my Veer and it actually caused my phone to reboot when I tried going into Street View mode. I haven't tried it on the Touchpad yet.

My Pre 2 also rebooted (I think just a luna restat though) after trying to go into Street view. I'm not complaining, I am very happy with the app so far, just adding a data point.

Thank you to 72ka for a wonderful map app.

Awesome! Now to figure out how to get my GPS to work on the Veer..... :)

Will donate promptly. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Next patch: Making Bing Maps go away.

EDIT: Nevermind, just open Preware, find Maps from HP, then remove it.

Also, short cut alert,, just open laucher page that has bing maps on it, press option (gray button) and tap app you would like to delete. The option to delete comes up & saves you the time of opening preware.

I was describing my Touchpad, which comes with Bing Maps "stock" as part of the device. Some of the apps in the Launcher aren't removable (no X in the corner after pressing and holding on top of it), so I described that way instead, which is universal. (My TP is on 3.0.5, don't know if it's just mine that has it this way.) Thanks, though.

Also, PS: Unlike on Pre, where it was an "upgrade", if you absolutely have to get Bing Maps back on to your TouchPad, if you delete the package in Preware, you'll have to find another way to put it back later since you won't see it in the App Catalog. (I can't stand Bing, so if that's the case, I'll use google maps as a web app like before.) This may mean using webOS Quick Install, or running webOS Doctor to restore all the apps from factory defaults, so if you're a mainstream user who is leery on that it may be safer just to leave Bing Maps alone there and just ignore it. I did it because I am a fool, and nothing I would call "important" is on my tablet.

Installed on my Pre3....maps look nice, but when I enter a search term: nothing happens. Absolutely nothing.

For Just Type, you'll need to go into Just Type's Preferences and add it to "Launch & Search"(and remove Bing's "Map").

How do I do this in 1.4.5? I swear I know, but I can't remember...

Also, under Launcher -> Menu -> Default Apps, you can click on Addresses and change the default map program from "Maps" (Bing) to the new "Google Maps".

Thanks for bringing google maps back 72ka!

Never liked Bing...

This app has already satisfied all my basic needs from a Map App.

Everything from now is an more than I can ask for.
72ka Thanks a Lot.


I dropped $5 in. Thanks so much for your effort! I just got a Pre 3 (VZW) less than a week ago and would really, really like a fix for the jittery panning. Either way, thanks a lot for your work! I'm amazed to see a single developer put out an app of this caliber.

P.S. While Google Maps is my preferred desktop mapping app, for webOS apps I guess I'm in a different boat than most of you as I actually like Bing's app much more than Google's.

The outdated version of Google Maps was absolutely terrible and lacked just about everything available on competing platforms' same app. While Bing is also fairly 'featureless,' it was -- at least for me -- far more stable, accurate, smooth, and attractive on my Pre 2 (VZW). When HP swapped them out, I rejoiced, but now with the option of a REAL Google Maps app available, I'm really excited (once the Pre 3 bugs get ironed out). Thanks again!

The Bing Map app itself is smoother than the badly neglected original Google Maps app (though I wouldn't call the original app "terrible" - it did work OK).

But perhaps you only used addresses when doing searches for directions?

I found Bing not even coming close to Google when it comes to looking for places.
I often got high quality search results from Google, while getting nothing or bad hits from Bing even for trivial searches like a nearby Starbucks.

I eventually used the browser version of Google Maps. UI is less nice - but search quality is so much better, it was worth it.

Thanks to 72ka for solving this problem.

How is this different from BFG Maps?

" made his own Google Maps app that puts both the new Bing Maps and old Google Maps apps for webOS to shame. As in never show your face in public again because everbody avoids making eye contact with you because they see you as wholly inadequate and you know it even though you don't want to admit it shame."

Exactly my thoughts. Well put.

awesome app ! Glad to have a useful map tool on 1.4.5. Sure would like to see latitude integration in future upgrades . . . Maybe that's for the paid version?. Thank you 72ka !!!

Great app

Very nice, runs great on my old 1.4.5. Thanks much.

Thank you 72ka. Now I won't be embarrassed or have to come up with an excuse when people tell me to look up an address & ask what other restaurants/businesses are in the area (since Bing doesn't list them).

Hi, first, thank for your support. I'm very appreciate it. The app is in early state, still evolving... it's not perfect, but better than nothing. At this time, I'm working on completely new search based only on google autocompleter. Next version will be able to search PIO's, not only addresses. I uploaded the app so soon in order to gain user feedbacks. And I'll try to work on it based on your feedback and finally. But... the Google API is limited, e.g. is not possible to get Public transport instructions... and some other things that we use on desktop browser version, sadly...
About the Pre3.. is supported, my real testing options are only Pre+ and Veer (both webos 2.1 where is problem with restarting when streetview) and other (including Pre3) in emulator and there is panning good. I can't imagine the jitters... can someone post a video?
Thanks again a please write all your hints to the app forum.

Thanks for the app!! Please let us know if/when you fix the Veer "restart in streetview" issue. I'm happy to avoid using streetview until then.

if you delete bing maps, will this become the default mapping program (e.g. when you click on a map link)?

When you delete bing map you will most likely get a "failed to launch" message when tapping on addresses from contacts. Go into Device info, and default applications. Will see "addresses" blank after removing Bing, tap and see if Google map is provided as a replacement (N B...after you download it ;-) ) Works perfectly on linking addresses from contacts to maps. Hope this helps

So glad to have the detailed traffic info of Google back on my device!! Thank you so much!!

I've been waiting so long for this, thank you so much.

Thank you so much! An awesome app that also works perfectly on the seldom supported Pixi.

I would like to ask the author of this article whether he did any investigation of difference between this application and the original Google Maps on the first Palms Pre?

Moreover, the whole application is in javascript. I wonder how much work does the built-in Internet viewer and the "application".

And then, Google Maps work on every little bit advanced Internet viewer without necessity of installation any additional application. A assume that palms with WebOS have such viewer taking into account the fact that it uses WebKit as engine. Hence any application should not be needed.

And finally for everyone: I would like to add that Google Maps on Palm OS work continually for several years. A question arises, why it suddenly does not work on newer palms with WebOS and whether just taking the older version from the first Palms Pre and copying to the newer system would not be enough.

Hi, have you ever had a WebOS device? I think no... Be sure that the mobile "optimized" version of Google maps doesn't work well on WebOS webkit based browser... in short, is unusable. The app contains at this time more than 1500 rows of code and uses the google api v3. It is written in JS, sure... every webos app is css/javascript.

Why don't you just download the app and try to answer the questions by yourself? There are already tens of positive responses in this discussion. Don't you think others wouldn't write positive feedback if it was some kind of scam?
As many others, I'm excited about this app because it's finally something that is usable. Bing Maps are useless in Europe and all other Google Maps based apps are... hmm... suboptimal.
It can't be the Palm version. Because the Palm version wasn't open source. This app is.

Hi, you have answer in www.palmhelp.cz. The whole app is my work, only infobubble is from open source project. Please stop doubling this thread and continue only in one thread.. on palmhelp.
Anyway... I'm not allowed to delete your post, probably was site admin... not me and please stop attacking me. I spent many and many hours of coding... your post offends me.

1. From the thread on palmhelp I have just found that the whole application can be a modification of other applications from Android. This should be stated here to inform other users.
2. I have the right to double anything I want taking into account the fact that most readers do not understand Czech.
3. Of course you did not delete my post. I know very well that this was the work of your friends on this site.

I read your comments on palmhelp.cz and still don't understand if you're kidding our you mean it seriously.

- who cares if it would be sufficient just to take the original Palm's Google Maps and port it to new versions of webOS?
- who cares if Google Maps work in every web browser?
- who cares if most of the job is done by the app, or by the webkit engine, or by Mojo?

The author decided to write a new app that is open source and maybe reused something from other open source projects. What's wrong about that? I don't know why it should matter if the most job is done by webkit or not. webOS was designed this way to make app developer's job as easy as possible. What's wrong about that?

I don't really understand what's your problem. You think that app is needless and redundant? And so what? It's up to users what they wanna use. There are thousands of apps in the catalog or preware and already several Google Maps-based.

As you said on palmhelp.cz, you're not using webOS and don't plan to because you think it's a dead platform. Well, why do you care so much about us, webOS users?

Registered to this website just 19 hours ago, you look more like a troll that is damn jealous that someone has made a good app and gets a credit he deserves for that.

This post was deleted by admins and posted again by me. It is my reply to the post by Sesivany posted on Sun, 22 Apr 2012 12:55 pm EDT.

1. I don't say that the app is redundant.
2. It matters if the whole work was done by the author who claims he did it.
3. If the work is not as original as the author claims then he does not deserve the credit he gets (if he deserves any).
4. I am for long years a palm user. I have done lots of real work for Palm OS. If I am a jealous troll then everyone is.
5. The author is a member of group of people who are constantly attacking me on other forums. This approves my actions here.
6. I know that WebOS was created to kill Palm OS which was one of the best mobile platforms ever made. That is why I have the reason to say something on this site.
7. WebOS is really dead and was dead since the beginning. This is the reason why I do not intend to waste my money on this platform. It is just a killer of Palm OS. WebOS is useless for anything else. The WebOS community can't hold a candle to the old palm developers which were effectively wasted by introducing the WebOS though I was never as important member as some others.
8. I have 691 posts on palmhelp which is far more than 72ka ever had. Besides this I have 953 posts on pdasoft.cz and 56 posts on 1src.com. If I am a beginner on a site regarding this platform then everyone is.

I am so angry since this platform killed anything that made a sense for the old Palm OS user. If there is anyone who is attacking anybody then it is you and this site.

Moreover, you did not answer my questions in previous posts:
1. Why are you deleting my posts?
2. Why are you so worried if it isn't a scam?

@HelloNNNewman: Your answer is not an answer.

Hey man, ignore that guy. Obviously doesn't know anything about the palm platform at all, nor any appreciation for the history of the platform and the amazing work that you have done. Thank you for bringing us this. You are a great asset to our community, and I, for one, am glad that you chose the WebOS platform to tinker with and share your passion on.

I needn't to know anything about this platform. I was just asking questions and trying to discover something.

But you, instead of answering my questions, are attacking me and deleting my posts.

This post was deleted by admins and posted again by me. It is my reply to post by Sesivany posted on Sat, 21 Apr 2012 7:08 pm EDT.

And why did you delete my last post? Why are you so worried if it isn't a scam?

The fact that the application is open source does not mean anything. There are lots of modifications of java applications which were not originally open source (e.g. Opera Mini and its Russian modifications). But the authors of these applications do not say that they have created something new or breaking.

This whole thing smells as the whole WebOS is aimed against old Palm OS and its users. The aim of this platform was to kill Palm OS and the whole Palm. Everyone who is not totally stupid understands it.

And here is the post which is so dangerous that you deleted it:

The fact that the application is "optimized" does not explain the other questions I have stated.

1. Is it your original work or did you use the old version from the first Palms Pre?
2. What is the difference between this application and the older version?
3. Isn't it enough to just copy Google Maps from the first Palms Pre to the new WebOS? Or in other words, isn't your application just a modification of Google Maps from the first Palms Pre? Or in other words, isn't this whole thing just deceit for people who really do not know anything about this issue?

Thanks - preferred Google maps.

Call me clueless, but when does NDrive show it's value? I like my data close to me and accessible with only a ping i would rather accept.

While I impatiently wait for the SSGSIII to come out and will throw all my money at it, no matter what it is, things like this make me miss webOS.

I switched from my pre- to an EVO3D last July and bought a TouchPad during the fire sale, however the flash on my TouchPad was way too laggy to stream sports on, so I had to dual boot Android on it and simply didn't care for the general slowness of webOS on the TouchPad so I've continued to just use the Android partition.

While Android is great, things like these really make me miss webOS. I had my pre- patched 150% to the exact way I wanted... I can customize Android, but the problems aren't fixed as easily as simply downloading a patch in preware, it truly was amazing. Why oh why couldn't HPalm have made a slab phone with webOS on it. Oh and I can't forget how much nicer swiping my finger along the bottom of the phone is than hitting buttons

brilliant. Thanks so much.
it would great if there a way to make it the default mapping app.

Read earlier reply to greenwitch post in this tread to make google default map

Can someone post the donation link?

Been frustrated with Bing Maps on my Pre2 since my trip to South Africa last month!

I had to go to the full site version of the application's page to get the Preware compatible download link, for shame webOSnation! Got the app though now and love it, donation sent! (I think I found the donate link in the forum thread, or maybe it was on the full site app page...)

Hey killinghawk72, the app on the original Pre was just a thin launcher for a bundle of code served up from Google each time; this is actually an app with local code stored on the phone. That's why it has a mojo interface and was able to add things like street and hybrid views. 72ka deserves huge props for bringing this to us, and I for one am more than happy to have donated.

Please Please Please work Latitude in there somewhere!!!

This is a great and much needed replacement for the WEBOS maps. Works great and donated today. Small finding is that each time app started it reverts back to roadmap view. Hope to b addressed in future but not a biggie. Thanks72ka

@killinghawk72 - rude and or trolling posts are removed from the site. If you have questions or issues - pm me.

Is anyone else having problems searching for business names? I just tried doing a few searches for businesses whose name and location I know, but kept getting nothing in the type-ahead dropdown results list. Not sure what's going on...

Version 0.1.2 just came out. It now does POI from Google. It might help.

I am having problems searching for business names.

Also, the integration seems lacking, for example if I do a Google search on a location, then tap the map, nothing happens.

I've deleted Bing maps and tried setting the default application in Device Info, any other suggestions? Thanks~! :)

Also, in Just Type, a choice appears, "Maps," but when I tap on it nothing happens either.

Any help? Thanks! :)

"Maps" is Bing Maps.  You need to add Google Maps in the Just Type preferences and then Google Maps will be available as an option.

I am having the same issue. I have deleted bing maps and set the new google maps as the default map program, but when clicking on a map link or in just type nothing happens. I am on 1.4.5 verizon.

BTW I'm on the original Sprint Pre minus, 1.45.

I want to like this, but I can't pan on my touchpad. I assume panning is working for others, because, its not to useful without that feature. Pinch zooming works, but is pretty laggy.. For now, I'll keep using WebOSM.

I am also having issues panning on the touchpad. Zooming is working fine for me. Note that panning works just fine on my pre 2. As others have noted, it works really fast on the pre 2. Thanks for developing this app.

Panning works for me.

how to make this default map app...m using pre2 on 2.2.4

Device Info -> Preferences -> Default Applications.

Tried to download it on my Pre Plus 1.4.5
Immediately IPK-error.
What could be wrong?

Very nice! What google maps SHOULD have been when the pre was originally released. Outstanding work, thank you so much.

You had mentioned integration with Navit. Is that still planned? Searching for things in the area seems to not be implemented yet. For example "Pizza near harrisburg pa". Specific locations will come up in the search bar, but I'd like to do that type of search with all of the pins on the map.

Good stuff, keep it coming!

Looks like a good start. Any hope for Bluetooth-connected GPS functionality, a la MapTool Pro?

@72ka: This app looks great, but unfortunately freezes/crashes my Pre3 (UK activated) when trying to navigate in the StreetView mode. The white arrow seems to be stuck and hidden under the small oval black bar.. Hope this can be fixed in a near update. Thanks..

tx for the app! I'm not really a Google fan, but their maps are really the best ones.
the standard functionality works very well on my pre+ & tab
I didn't try the street view (& I don't need it)

Thanks 72ka - Have tried it on both a Franken-Pre2 and a Pre3. Seems to work fine. Just donated a fiver for your efforts.

Will try on a touch pad later.

This is a great app, and I really like Google maps for the traffic detail. Bing's traffic data is pretty limited.

One request for a later version. The cross hair button pans to the current location and zooms to a fixed level. All the map apps seem to do this. In this mode, the map then tracks your location and pans to keep it centered. However, if you zoom out to a different zoom level, the panning stops. If I hit the cross hair button again, it zooms back to the fixed level. Again, all map apps do this. I guess I'd like a second cross hair (or some other trigger) to start the panning tracking but leave the zoom level alone.

Thanks again

This app was amazing and today's (Thursday April 26) update just bricked my Touchpad! AGHHHHH!