Google has released a major update for Google Maps on Android. The new version follows the new look which debuted at Google I/O, and brings a cleaner user interface, several new features and controversially, also sees the removal of the offline caching mode.
The app has taken on some of the design features seen in the iPhone app released last year, and has been adapted for use on Android tablets, providing a considerably improved experience on the big screen. The first major new feature is called Explore, where instead of typing in a search phrase, the app notes your location and a simple tap in the search box brings up cards with popular choices of local bars, restaurants, shops and attractions.
If you use Google Maps in the car, then you’ll be pleased to know the traffic reports system has been overhauled. Now, it shows problems on the road with complete incident reports, and can dynamically reroute you around the issues, should a quicker option become available.
Finally, although we’re not sure if this is going to be available in the UK, Zagat reviews have been integrated into the search results, along with recommendations and reviews from your friends. As we mentioned earlier, offline caching has been removed, as has a Latitude check-in option.
The new version of Google Maps is available through Google Play now, and is compatible with all Android phones running 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or later. Apple iPhone users will be pleased to know the alterations and refreshed look will be coming to the App Store soon.