Google has introduced a new Google Maps app for Android smartphones and tablets, also coming soon to iPhone and iPad. The app will also be rolled out globally in Google Play and will be available soon in the App Store. Announcing this, the company stated,”The new Google Maps for mobile builds on the design we released for iPhone last December and improves on it with a few useful search and navigation features. And it’s the first dedicated app for Android tablets and iPads. We’re also retiring Latitude and are making some changes to offline and My Maps.”
Some key features of the new Google Maps App:
- Explore: Explore is a fast and easy way to visually browse and discover new places without even typing. You just have to tap the search box to see cards showing great places to eat, drink, sleep and shop.
- Enhanced navigation: In addition to current traffic conditions, the app contains two new features to help you navigate around traffic. You can now see reports of problems on the road that you can tap to see incident details. While on the road, Google Maps will also alert you if a better route becomes available and reroute you to your destination faster. This feature is available only on Android and is coming soon to iOS.
- Designed for tablets: A dedicated tablet design brings all the features of this new app to Android tablets and iPads.
- Reviews, Zagat and Offers: The app has a new 5.0 star rating system that gives you a quick read on how your friends and others rate places like restaurants, bars and cafes. For an expert’s opinion, the Zagat badge of excellence and curated lists are integrated into search results so you can quickly spot the very best places.
Latitude and check-ins are no longer part of the new Google Maps app, and will be retired from older versions on August 9. In place of this Google has added location sharing and check-ins to Google+ for Android (coming soon to iOS). The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available. Instead Google has created a new way for you to access maps offline by simply entering “OK Maps” into the search box when viewing the area you want for later. The My Maps functionality is also not supported in this release but will return to future versions of the app. Users who want to create powerful custom maps can still do so with Maps Engine Lite on desktop.