Earlier today, Google started slowly rolling out an update to Maps with version 7.2. This is a point release, up from 7.1, so I expected more than just minor changes. While not as big as the quiet Drive update yesterday, Maps 7.2 brings a few notable changes to the table that Google has not yet (or won't ever) itemized in the changelog. Upon getting my hands on the APK, which you can find at the bottom of this post, I hopped onto the teardown couch and dug in.

What's new?

Route preview and one-tap Start navigation button

One of the most notable changes is the Google Now-style route preview for the first of three possible navigation route cards.

We also get the Start navigation button that we've all gotten so used to in Now, which saves a whole tap. Hooray!

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Left: new Maps 7.2; Right: old Maps 7.1

Hotel rates (read: hotel ads)

Another big addition to Maps 7.2 is hotel rates. These manifest in several ways:

  1. You will see a new Book option in hotel listings with the lowest room rate and a list of booking sites that you can book from.
  2. Tapping Book will go to a screen where you can input your check-in and check-out dates as well as view the offers. Tapping on each offer simply launches the browser - there is no deep integration here.
  3. Hotel rates now also show up in those small cards you get when you search (see the last two screenshots below).

While seeing hotel rates right inside Maps is marginally useful, Google isn't trying to hide the fact that these are, in fact, ads. The company made sure to clearly display the Ad symbol in all relevant places of the app, which, I suppose, is a good thing.

wm_Screenshot_2013-09-12-17-32-26 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-12-17-32-36 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-12-17-32-54 wm_Screenshot_2013-09-12-17-31-42

Left, middle-left, middle-right: new Maps 7.2; Right: old Maps 7.1

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Left: new Maps 7.2; Right: old Maps 7.1

Since this is a teardown, here are some hotel-related strings for you:

<string name="HOTEL_CHECK_IN">Check-in</string>
<string name="HOTEL_CHECK_OUT">Check-out</string>
<string name="HOTEL_CURRENCY_DISCLAIMER">Currency disclaimer</string>
<string name="HOTEL_INCLUSIVE_PRICE">%s including taxes &amp; fees</string>
<string name="HOTEL_MORE_PRICES">More booking options</string>
<string name="HOTEL_NO_AVAILABILITY">No known availability for these dates</string>
<string name="HOTEL_PLACE_BOOK_LINK_TITLE">Book %s</string>
<string name="HOTEL_PRICE_PER_NIGHT">Price per night</string>

A really annoying HTC Contacts -> Maps bug is finally fixed

Ever since Maps 7.0, a very annoying issue has been plaguing HTC owners. They would tap on a contact's address and:

  • with Maps 7.0, Maps wouldn't even be in the list of apps that can open it
  • with Maps 7.1, Maps would open, but it'd be completely blank (see below, on the right)

I'm happy to report that Maps 7.2 fixes this bug, and tapping on a contact's address now correctly opens it up. Here are some screenshots from an EVO LTE to prove it:

2013-09-12 23.04.12 2013-09-12 22.59.28
Left: new Maps 7.2; Right: old Maps 7.1

Hours of operation displayed more prominently

Hours of operation have switched positions with the address and now appear in bold letters. It's a subtle change - one most of you would probably have never noticed - but it makes sense as the hours don't blend in with the address as much. I approve.

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Left: new Maps 7.2; Right: old Maps 7.1

Ratings now have names

The star ratings that Google suddenly really wants you to use now have names to better explain what exactly they're supposed to represent. As it turns out, the ratings are:

  1. Hated it.
  2. Disliked it.
  3. It's okay.
  4. Liked it.
  5. Loved it.

Who would have thought!?

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New permissions

Maps now requests a bunch of new permissions:

  4. C2DM's RECEIVE.

I haven't figured out how each of these is used yet, but if you do, please let me know.


Touch icons

A ton of icons in the Search screen now have touch states. In Maps 7.2, they turn nice and blue when you touch them, whereas in 7.1 they remain gray.


Reporting mapping issues is now strictly contextual

You can no longer report mapping issues from the Send feedback menu - such reporting has moved to being strictly contextual. See the new (left) and old (right) screenshots below. The Send feedback menu is now reserved for... sending app feedback.

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Left, middle: new Maps 7.2; Right: old Maps 7.1

goo.gl/maps urls

Maps 7.2 can now handle goo.gl/maps urls. The prompt you get after tapping on, say, http://goo.gl/maps/JtEC3 has Maps as one of the listed options:


Nav header tweaks

The divider in the green and gray navigation headers has turned light from dark. The gradient is gone too (thank god):

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Left: new Maps 7.2; Right: old Maps 7.1


  • The Labs string is gone, so looks like Labs is not coming back. Sadface.jpg.
  • There's a new internal service called PrefetcherService, though I'm not exactly sure what it does differently from before. It's not exported, so it's only accessible to Google's own apps and nobody else.


Note: While this APK will work fine, it may not be optimized for your device since Google generates multiple APKs for various screen sizes and densities. You can safely install it and later either wait for the next update directly from the Play Store, or simply uninstall updates and have the Play Store take care of the rest once the staged rollout is complete.

I recommend downloading the APK with the minimum Android version that is as close to your device's as possible.

Android 4.3+:

Android 4.2+:

Android 4.0+:

Thanks, Jonathan A and Liang Chi for the APK and Josh Brown for teardown help.