One of the great things about Android is that we don’t need to wait for a major OS update for the core apps in the ecosystem to receive an update. One such app — Google Maps — receives fairly regular updates, and each time Google manages to make the product just that little bit better.
Artem and the guys over at Android Police have cracked open the latest Google Maps update (version 7.2 to be precise), and having installed it ourselves, we thought we’d give you a quick heads up on the new features.
Route preview and one-click navigation
Users of the current version of Maps will be able to tell you how annoying it is to navigate from one places to another. The steps are something like this: select your destination, click the car/navigate icon, wait for some route options to load, select one, view the route overview, then click start. Only then will Maps start to navigate you to your chosen destination. Compare a few options and that’s six steps.
It’s painful to read, and it’s annoying to do while you’re trying to drive.
Well Maps 7.2 offers a much quicker process. Select your destination, click car icon, and the most economical route (taking into account traffic, distance, time, and some voodoo) will show in a small preview window with a start navigation icon. Click that, and you’re on your way in just three steps.
New features in the venue screen make the hours of operation more prominent (where that data is available), and for hotels, you’ll be able to quickly see indicative booking rates and link off to some hotel booking websites. Small things, but cool things.
Other new features
Some other features which aren’t perhaps as noticeable, but still worth mentioning are these:
- A bug with HTC Contacts is fixed, meaning you can view contacts addresses properly in Maps again.
- Ratings now have names — hated it, disliked it, it’s okay, liked it and loved it.
- Touch icons — previously these remained gray when selected, now they turn blue in holo style.
- Contextual error reporting — found a problem with a Map? The only way to report it now is through the contextual menu, not through the app menus like you could before.
- Goo.gl/maps URLs now open in Maps if installed.
Would you like to try out these new features? Android Police has made these available, and it’s not good manners to simply borrow their download links, so head over to their story and check the Download section to find the right version for your device.
If you’re not that hurried, the rollout will be coming to your Android handset very, very soon.