Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Nexus S gets Google Maps 5.0 and other industry news

by Kristen Nicole

The Nexus S phone was Google’s (GOOG) own way of showing off its Gingerbread 2.3 update for Android’s mobile platform, and it received its first update today. Relatively small, the notable portion of this over-the-air update is the inclusion of Google Maps 5.0. The recently announced Maps app features 3D views and offline access, adding more perks to the ever-expanding navigation tool.

Google’s also making purchases easier through the Android Market, announcing the added support of AT&T (T) Direct Carrier Billing. Now AT&T customers can opt to charge a Market purchase on their wireless service bill, instead of paying through Google Checkout. It’s also a way for Google to further appeal to AT&T customers, which have been undoubtedly focused on Apple (AAPL) products for the past couple of years.

Foursquare’s gift for the holidays

To help out with last minute holiday shopping, your Foursquare app can help you contextualize your surroundings, now enhanced with photo and comment support. Earlier this month, Foursquare’s iPhone app was updated with the new features, and Android users now have the ability to upload photos during and after check-ins, add photos to tips and venue pages, and leave comments on friends’ check-ins.

Instagram coming to Android

Something else to get excited about is Instagram’s upcoming Android app, expected in the coming weeks. Already popular for iPhone users, Instagram lets you share photos across several social sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Posterous and more. Instagram also lets you have a little fun with your photos, adding effects and filters.