New Google Maps is First Dedicated for Tablets
The official Google Maps Blog published news yesterday of a significant upgrade to - what else? - the Google Maps application. The new version of the Google Maps application is being released now through Google Play for smartphone and tablet devices that utilize the Android platform.
Speaking of tablets, this is the first version of Google Maps with a build dedicated to the larger screen sizes of iPads, Kindle Fires and the like. The new version of the Google Maps will be available through the Android App Store and on iOS devices soon, as well.
One of the coolest new features is Explore, which Google is describing as sort of an auto-search feature that shows you points of interest near your current location. So if you're traveling in San Francisco, you won't even have to type "San Francisco coffee shops" to find a place to grab a cup of joe. Just open Explore and you'll be instantly treated to bars, restaurants and shopping centers nearest to where you're standing now.
Navigation has gotten better too. When you're on the road, you'll still see traffic conditions, but you'll also see incident reports - let's say traffic has been temporarily diverted 20 miles up the freeway - that you can tap for more details. You'll also be notified automatically, in real-time if a faster route appears up ahead, such as if that same traffic detour is suddenly canceled. iPhones and iPads will be getting this feature later than Android devices.
And a Few Features Removed
Check-ins and Latitude have both been removed from the new version of Maps, and you'll lose those features on August 9th even if you keep your current version of the app. However, to make up for it, check-ins and location sharing have been added to the Android Google+ app. Is this Google's thinly veiled way of driving membership for their social network?
Offline maps are gone too, but you can still save the portion of the map you're viewing for later by tapping the search box and typing "OK Maps." If you're a fan of creating customs maps, you'll be disappointed to learn that the My Maps feature has been removed from this version of Maps, though Google says that it will come back in a future release. Odd that they wouldn't keep the current version in place as they work on a revamp, but at least they're guaranteeing its return.
Will you be upgrading to the new version of Google Maps as soon as possible, or are you too attached to the features they're removing to enjoy the ones they're adding? Let us know in the comments below.
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