A new Google Maps app for Android smartphones and tablets rolling out today on Google Play store globally with the simplified interface that focuses on the map.
The new Google Maps for mobile is compatible with Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean Android devices and iOS 7 when available. The new Google Maps app for will also be coming soon to iPhone and iPad.
This release of Google Maps for mobile is build on the iPhone’s design and introduces a few useful search and navigation features improvements. Also, a dedicated tablet design brings all the features of this new app to Android tablets and iPads.
In addition to new features and an improved design, it’s the first dedicated app for Android tablets and iPads.
Google Latitude has been discontinued and replaced by a Google+ feature. “Latitude and check-ins are no longer part of the new Google Maps app, and will be retired from older versions on August 9,” google stated.
But to help see you friends and family on a map, Google added location sharing and check-ins to Google+ for Android and will also releasing it soon to iOS). For more details about Latitude and check-in changes, you can refer to this help center article.
Well, if you want to export your Latitude friends, here’s how to do that:
- go to Google Contacts page here
- select all contacts
- click “More”, then “Export” and pick one of the exporting options.
Location History will continue to be available, since it’s used by Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Now. “Google Location History is an opt-in feature that allows you to store your past Google location history and see it on a Google Map or in Google Earth. Your Location History is visible only to you.” Location Reporting will also be available, since it “allows Google to periodically store and use your device’s most recent location data in connection with your Google Account”.
In addition, offline maps feature for Android is no longer available and gave way to a new way to access maps offline by simply entering “OK Maps” into the search box when viewing the area you want for later.
Additionally, many layers are missing, Labs features are no longer available, and Map caching is now a hidden feature: you need to type “OK maps” in the search box and tabp the search icon and the app will preload the map you’re currently viewing. You’ll see this message: “pre-loading maps” or an error message: “the on-screen area map is too large, zoom in first”. If you see the error message, zoom in and type “OK maps” again.
Finally, “My Maps” functionality is also not supported in this release. But Google promise to to add it later in to the future versions of the app.
Those, who want to create powerful custom maps can do so using the Maps Engine Lite on desktop.
Below are a few highlights of this release:
Explore provide fast and easy way to visually browse and discover new places without even typing. “Simply tap the search box and you’ll see cards showing great places to eat, drink, sleep and shop,” says google.
Two new features added today that joins the already exisiting “traffic conditions” to help you navigate around traffic, first, “you can now see reports of problems on the road and by a tap you can see incident details.” And, second “while on the road, Google Maps will also now alert you if a better route becomes available and reroute you to your destination faster calling it dynamic rerouting.”
Google Maps for mobile is a great way now to discover valuable Offers from national brands like Macy’s, Michael’s and Toys “R” Us, labeled right on the map. Reviews, Zagat and Google Offers integration makes it easier to discover great offers with Google products and as you browse the web.
“You can now find offers when you’re looking for places in the latest Google Maps app for Android, searching on Google.com, and browsing the web. When you search for a restaurant or store in the app, you’ll see a blue tag icon near the business name or next to its pin on the map if they have an offer available. Simply swipe the place info sheet up to get more details on the business, and tap on the offer to use it immediately in store or save to your Google account to use later. The next time you’re at the restaurant, just show the offer on your phone screen to redeem,” explains google.
Additionally, you can also discover great savings on what you’re searching for with offers on Google search ads. Simply click or tap the ‘Get offer’ button to save the offer and use it in stores.
In addition, now when you browse your favorite websites around the web, “you will find relevant offers as ads.” If you’re on a website and see an offer you like, “just click on the ‘Get offer’ button to save it.”
No matter where you’ve found the offers, once they are saved to your Google account you can easily access them on the go with the Offers app or the new Google Maps app for Android. And if you want to get the latest offers from some of your favorite brands, you can follow them on Google+ to see all of the offers they share directly on your stream. You can save an offer directly from the post or share it with your circles.
Google also added 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,” google said.
Google has also made it easier to shop and save with Google Wallet on Android apps and mobile sites on your smartphone.
With Google Wallet it’s already easy to purchase content on some of your favorite Google services. Now you can make purchases on popular Android apps and mobile sites in as few as two clicks — “just look for the ‘Buy with Google’ button at checkout.” “Your information is securely applied so you don’t have to type 16-digit credit card numbers over and over again,” google adds.
To get started:
- “Update your payment information at wallet.google.com if you haven’t purchased with Google Wallet recently.
- Shop at any of the Android apps or mobile sites below (use your Google account to sign in or register for many of them).
- At checkout, choose the ‘Buy with Google’ button and select your payment card saved in Google Wallet.”
“All these features can make it a lot easier to navigate the world, no matter what adventure comes your way,” google adds.
You can download Android apps from the Google Play store.
Watch the new Google Maps for mobile in the video:
The latest version of Google Maps for Android doesn’t officially include the feature that allowed you to cache maps and use them offline. You won’t find it in the settings or in the app’s interface.