Car Finder Mentioned on Autoblog

Latest auto iPhone app: Augmented reality parked car finder

About a dozen years ago, this blogger drove his father's Buick Regal Gran Sport Coupe to a Pink Floyd concert at the 80,000-seat Pontiac Silverdome. After the concert was over, said blogger spent two hours trying to find his old man's ride in a sea of tie dye shirts and strange-smelling smoke. We've all misplaced our cars in mall parking lots, at airport garages or sporting venues before, but iPhone 3GS owners now have a device that can stop it from ever happening again.

Car Finder uses the newest iPhone's GPS hardware to keep track of your vehicle's locale, and when it comes time to get back to your car or truck, the app points you toward its location. Car Finder seems easy enough to use. Whenever you park your vehicle, open the application and mark your position. The 99-cent app will then tell you if you've got an accurate GPS position along with the margin of error. You can also name the spot or provide a parking spot number or letter to help you find your car later.

When it comes time to find your car, simply open Car Finder and your iPhone camera will be activated and an arrow will appear to point you in the right direction. The app will tell you how close you are to your car by giving you a meter readout that will let you know if you're getting hotter or colder.

Since the jammed packed parking lots of the holiday shopping season are right around the corner, we're thinking Car Finder may be worth a try. Few things suck more than losing your car in the parking lot when it's 25 degrees outside and you're holding four shopping bags.

Use Augmented Reality to find your car (via TUAW)

Use Augmented Reality to find your car

I have to admit, when I park in a big lot, I often forget where old Betsy is. There have been more than a few iPhone apps to help you find your car, but Car Finder [iTunes link] uses augmented reality to get you pointed in the right direction.

Here's how it works: you get out of your car and mark your position, making sure you have a good GPS fix. If you don't have one, you'll be told that and see the accuracy of your fix in plus or minus meters.

You can give your location a name, and if your parking space is numbered, you can add that in. I guess that is helpful if you are parking where there is no GPS signal, but then this app won't be of much help.

You're then free to go your merry way, until it's time to find your car again. When you bring up the app, your iPhone camera is activated, and a red arrow points to your car. Swing the camera around until an icon for your car appears and start walking. You'll get a constant read-out of your distance.

In my tests, just after sunset, the app worked very well, although when I got right next to the car the arrow was pointing elsewhere. That's not surprising given the imperfect accuracy of GPS, but by the time I got the error I could see the car less than 25 feet away.

Car Finder is U.S. $0.99, so it's not over priced, and pretty much in line with other similar apps in terms of cost. The augmented reality is a nice touch, as it floats your car icon over the real world. You do get a legal warning from the app about using due caution, I guess so you won't step into a manhole or off a cliff while following the camera scene. What a litigious society we live in!

So, Car Finder works, isn't over priced, uses augmented reality which has a high 'buzz word quotient,' and should impress your non-iPhone using friends, if you have any.

You'll need an iPhone 3GS to make this work, because the compass and GPS do the heavy lifting.


Internet Speeds and Costs Around the World, Shown Visually

This awesome infographic shows the internet costs and speeds around the world for the top 20 nations in the ITIF Broadband Rankings. Unsurprisingly, we don't compare too well.

Number one is, predictably, Japan, where the average broadband speed is 60mbps and they pay $0.27 per 1mbps. We, in comparison, average 4.8mbps and pay $3.33 per 1mbps, putting us at #15. Be sure to click the above image to see it in its full glory. [Zach Klein]