Only a few hours ago we reported that a new version of Google Maps had popped up on the Google Play Store, but was taken down. Now, Google has officially released the app for Android which heavily takes cues from the iOS version of the app that launched on the iPhone back in December. Also Read - Google Maps Compass returns for Android users, more new features introduced
Google says that it has built upon the new design ethos found in the Google Maps app found on iOS for the new Android app and it will be launching revamped experiences for the iPhone and the iPad too.
The new app retires features like Latitude and adds a global search box, a button to center your view and a tiny menu button.
For tablets too there is completely new interface that is much cleaner and littered with a grid of cards that apt for the larger tablet canvas. It also utilises a cleaner maps layout that is similar to the one seen on the desktop beta that Google released at Google I/O.
Google has added a new feature called explore which gets activated by simple tapping the search box and it presents a grid of cards that for places that are nearby, making it quick and easy for the user to find new places.
The new app features something that Google calls enhanced navigation . Through this, in addition to getting traffic details, one can now see reports of traffic problems and one can tap to get more details. Also, Google Maps while enroute will automatically inform the user of better routes, so that one is rerouted to the destination faster.
As announced at Google I/O, the new app integrates reviews, Zagat and offers. There is 5.0 star rating system for users who can now rate bars, caf s, restaurants, and for professional opinions certain places will have Zagat s badge of excellence. The Zagat integration also creates curated lists that are integrated into the search results, so that users can find top rated places faster.
As mentioned above Latitude has been discontinued and the same has been done to check-ins. On the bright side, check-ins are still an important part of Google+.
Weirdly, Google has disengaged the offline maps feature and Google says one can create offline maps by typing Ok Maps into the search box. The my maps feature is also not there as Google said it was not ready for this release, but would eventually come back.
That said, the Ok Maps command cache s the map so if one wants to cache a map one just needs to zoom the maps view to the region that has to be cached and then tap the search bar. From here all one needs to do is type Ok Maps in the search bar and hit search.