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.

Venue features

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.
  • 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.

Source: Android Police.
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Has anyone worked out how to find out what’s nearby since the Maps 7 update? It used to be you could put a pin anywhere (or enter an address), then choose “What’s nearby” to browse businesses in the area. This is handy if you don’t know what a place is called, but know roughly where it is.

As far as I can see now the only way to find a business is to know its name ahead of time.


In theory you can centre the map on the area you suspect the business is, then search by a description (‘electronics store’, ‘bakery’, ‘cafe’ etc), and then swipe through the results.


Sigh, you used to be able to just browse…

Alexei Watson

just centre to a place on the map and tap the search bar.. below where you type is a list of categories to search ‘nearby’

you can also long press on places on the map, and then pull the white bar up from the bottom of the screen to see more details.


“…and it’s annoying to do while you’re trying to drive.”

You shouldn’t be mucking around with anything while you’re trying to drive. Aside from the obvious illegality, it’s extremely dangerous not only for yourself but for your fellow road users.


If it wasn’t clear from what we’ve said on Ausdroid before, we don’t advocate doing anything while you’re driving a car, and that includes programming your GPS (or Google Maps). Of course, you should pull over when programming your GPS, and my comments should have been read that way — it’s far quicker to pull over and tap three times than to tap six or seven times depending on what Maps returns.


Of course Chris, I understand this and I have indeed seen what has been said about the subject on Ausdroid in the past. It’s also supposedly common sense, not that it appears to be all that common on the road these days considering the number of people I see with their phone in one hand and the wheel in the other at 100+ km/h. My issue was simply that the wording of the article is ambiguous and probably should have been written a little differently. It never hurts to reinforce your position on the matter where it’s relevant to do… Read more »