09
Oct
maps

Earlier today, Google started a staged rollout of a new point release of Google Maps. We've been poring over all the UI differences between the new version 7.3 and the previous version 7.2 from last month for the last couple of hours and managed to catch a few interesting changes. Since the official changelog isn't out yet, these will have to do for now.

Here's what we've spotted.

wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-23-44-46

What's New?

Duration, distance, and estimated arrival time in the expanded notification

The expanded notification now carries a lot more information than before. The additions are:

  • Time to destination.
  • Distance to destination.
  • Estimated arrival time.

These definitely make the expanded notification a whole lot more useful.

wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-22-30-04 wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-22-31-02

Left: Maps 7.3; right: Maps 7.2

Much more compact navigation cards

Check out the slimmer, shorter, less bloated navigation cards. You can't even tell at first sight, but the new view contains exactly the same information, except it's much more streamlined. 4 lines turn into 2. 3 into 1. Fantastic.

wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-22-06-42 wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-22-06-58

Left: Maps 7.3; right: Maps 7.2

Discard confirmations

Maps 7.3 will now ask you to confirm discarding what you just wrote while leaving or editing a review instead of just going back and wiping out anything you've typed up.

The prompt variations are:

  • Do you want to discard this review?
  • Do you want to discard changes?

Here's an example prompt when backing out of a review:

wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-22-01-38

Miscellaneous

Outside of these user-facing changes, Maps 7.3 adds Google Analytics for internal app usage reporting.

There's also a lot of under-the-hood activity related to offers and ads, though I can't pinpoint what's going on exactly just yet.

A few icons that were probably previously rendered with maps remotely look cached now - the fewer server requests, the better.

Catching of maps.google.is urls has been added, and maps.google.ee handling has been fixed (it was previously incorrectly set to catch maps.google.com.ee instead).

Finally, there's an undo button image, though I think it's only related to reporting feedback (I was unable to find it in the UI).

Download

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 4.0.3+:

Thanks, Steven Zeck and Cliff Wade for the APKs as well as Cody Toombs, Josh Brown, and Nick Wells for their help with the teardown!

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Aleksey_US

    awesome!

  • Kuyam

    So what's up with the new permission? Potential wakelock?

    • Tills13

      iirc, with Google's 4.3 location API, it won't require any extra cycles.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I didn't see any new permissions in this version compared to 7.2.

  • Vince Klein

    Hey guys, is there any info in the apk that might point to the resurfacing of "add to contacts" from the POI search screen. Really, not being able to save a restaurant etc to my phone/cloud contacts any longer is really, really bad. I have no idea why Google killed that feature.
    Any idea on if/when it's coming back?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Didn't see anything, sorry. Guess they just want us to use stars now.

      • Vince Klein

        Hmm, how can I pull up my "stars" on my mobile (S4 GPE).
        The starred POIs surely don't get synced over my star tab in contacts.app.
        Thanks, Vince

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          What Robert said - starred places are there.

      • shonangreg

        Starred places. Yeah. Did google fix this? Every iteration seems to make it more and more difficult to star a place.

        It got so bad for me that I decided to try OsmAnd+ with OpenstreetMap, voila: starring a place, anywhere, is easy, and immediately editable, and easy to find again.

        It is almost as if google wants us to stop starring places.

    • Robert Macri

      If you open maps, click on the shadow person in upper right hand corner, you'll see your saved places

    • Jeremy Sheehan

      I REALLY miss that feature. I used to add restaurants/businesses often via maps. Not anymore.

  • David Anderton

    they need to hurry up and re-include all the offline maps options!

    • aritra

      now thrz an option to pre cache..

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        There's been an option to precache since the first update to 7.0, but you can't manage or see precached data. That's what's missing.

    • hot_spare

      I am still running 6.14. and no plans to upgrade (yet)

      • bearballz

        Yup me to. Until they bring back maps on the navigation side, I have no reason to upgrade.

      • Oog

        I was too ... until I foolishly loaded an OTA Android update. Didn't consider my base version of GMaps. Ooops.

      • ike

        me too and i have no desire to downgrade!

    • tintin.92

      Better, they need to make offline maps searchable, like it is in Nokia Maps for the Lumias..

      • David Anderton

        I agree you should be able to see where your offline maps are(like you used to be able to) but you should also be able to use navigation in those offline areas when you are offline (I don't remember this ever working).

        • tintin.92

          Nah, it never worked. I'm not sure it WOULD work either, as in my limited experience, getting a GPS lock without the help of Mobile Data/WiFi is extremely slow and difficult.near impossible.

          Atleast that's how it is on Galaxy S2.

          • David Anderton

            I think that is just an s2 issue.

    • Ade Adeleye

      Offline maps are still included. Search for an area you want to save offline, and have it in view. Then type in "okay maps" and it will save it offline. I had to google this.

  • inffy

    Can't install the apk, just says app not installed

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Did you download the right one for your Android version?

      • inffy

        I tried both. the 4.3 doesn't even open the installer because i have 4.2.2 (xperia Z1) and the other one won't install at all

        • David Hart

          Try disabling the current maps app you have installed, or uninstalling if you're rooted

    • aritra

      check if u have installed the right apk..thrz 2 of them

  • aritra

    nice..now the offline map is available

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      What do you mean? It's been available since the first update to 7.0.

      • aritra

        oh! i missed that lol!

  • Inha1966

    In my current notifications cards "Start Navigation" gives me the choice of using Google Maps or another Navigation program I have installed, however, it does not give me the choice to use Waze (which I also have installed and is my preferred choice), any chance this has changed given the recent acquisition.

  • blahmoomoo

    Hmm, I was hoping for something a bit more substantial, like how the web (maybe beta?) version of Maps just re-added the ability to have multiple destinations (or waypoints). Would be nice to have features like that in the app...

    • Sergio

      +1000. And one thing I´ve been missing since the beginning: make an itinerary with waypoints on desktop and sync with Android Navigation

  • James_C_L

    How about the damn reroute button return!

    • rals

      Agreed, I never understood the logic of removing this button especially if i am in a traffic jam and need to get out.

  • http://actresspakistannews.blogspot.com/ Nadia shah

    Well done Google team.you are always great

  • fredphoesh

    Lets hope it sorts out the utter mess of the last version, took a great product made it confusing and pretty... who needs that when you're lost!?

  • abobobilly

    I am not sure what Google wants to do with their Maps app because they have clearly confused themselves in the development.

    Millions of years are passed and google still believes that a user is every country is connect to f*cking internet and thats why doesn't give us Offline Navigation. Even worse, took the functionality of Offline Maps away from us. Salute to you Google. :

    • Ray

      Offline has been available from the start.

      • Sergio

        Not in Navigation.

      • Steph Chi

        But you can't really manage the offline content ...
        And like #abobobilly, I don't understand the dev direction like mixing Earth and Maps, etc

        • shonangreg

          Try OsmAnd+ with OpenStreetMap. Starring places there just works -- as one would expect it to. You can even rename your list of favorites at any time, and they are not saved in some easy-to-forget location organized by some not-at-all-intuitive labelling system.

      • abobobilly

        From the start? You are kidding right :

        Okay the most i loved was the version 6.1.4 (was it? I don't know but it was v6) ... which not only had the "Labs" integrated but also gave us the option to Save offline maps (and manage them) on our own.

        As much as i like the new UI of Google Maps (and the maps as well) ... I hate the fact that its kind of going backwards in terms of functionality. Add the fact that Google takes a bit too long to update its apps which can become extremely annoying at times.

  • Grant Haswell

    Badly needs lane assist in city traffic if you are not familiar with the area.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/denny.kluge diskostu

    Still no 3D buildings while in navigation mode :(

  • jdsmx

    those screenshots looks like the kitkat, isn't?

    • Logan

      The newer screenshots look like they are from a Galaxy device.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Note 3 and Nexus 4.

  • Roger

    It still doesn`t support key features like My Maps, Maps off line and zoom in/out buttons.
    I am keeping on 6.x for now.
    What lame update!
    Beautiful User Interface with removed key features!

  • MooseCat

    Has the ability to access "My Maps" been restored yet?

  • Simon

    I just want the search bar and "position button" to take up less space (or just disappear in the side menu)

  • bluesfear

    still waiting for it to remember NO TOLL so I don't have to check it every single time

    • TejasEric

      I totally agree with this!

  • Richard Sobey

    Waiting for them to, maybe sometime, fix the "bug" where navigation volume is extrmely low, forcing a choice between navigation or music, but not both. Very irritating. Almost as if they've been paid off by third-party software houses with the result they sell more software.

  • unsivilaudio

    I don't always use navigation, but when I do its CoPilot...

    Until Google brings back 'Navigation without destination', I really have no reason to go back. CoPilot is free, requires offline maps(?), & offers 'follow me' function like Maps used to.

  • remister

    Public Transportation Navigation!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      What? I check for it every time, and it's not there. Just the regular public transportation directions, no navigation.

      • remister

        I know, wishing it comes back...

  • spydie

    time to destination was in the last version. I used it last week.

  • newmaphater

    Question for all those who say maps can be cached for offline use: Do your maps get saved at *all* zoom levels for a particular area? My understanding was that the new maps will only save the maps for the area showing on the screen *at the zoom level* showing on the screen. And in my tests, that's how it seems to be working. Is there something I'm missing?

  • rmeden

    I've reverted to the Stock Galaxy S II version of maps and I don't see anything in this update to bring me back.

    I need saved locations back. Sure, Google Now knows where I want to go *sometimes*, but not always.

    I need to be able to see a list of routes. When Google Maps will send me down a $6 toll road to save 1-2 minutes, I can trust it for all decisions.

  • dcrunner94

    Offline maps did work in previous version on my Samsung SIII. I downloaded a map of an island in South America before going on vacation and it worked great offline and with my GPS. It looks like you are correct that they removed it. I don't think this new version is easier to use as previous version. Not sure why Google doesn't do more user testing before releasing a product and why would exclude a feature that people liked.

  • Mangoo

    Still no wikipedia layer, still no measure tool? Maps 7.x is a big disaster?

  • Ike

    if you were a user of google maps before the nightmare upgrade, you will agree many wonderful functions were removed for no understandable reason. My place and working offline are just a few things that are missed. I am holding on to my old cell phone and not upgrading just to make sure i don't run into any problems. i am still using version 6.14. If that ability ends, i will switch over to lumina and i will start using Here.com as a replacement to googles "my places". As a side not, blackberry's maps has a "my places" function on it's mobile map. I wonder if the reason google had to eliminated its "my places" function for patent reasons. If that is so, perhaps we will never see My Places again

    • G_Bailey

      Ike, I too am holding onto my old phone for this very reason. I've got the Motorola Razr Max with Maps 6.14 installed on it, for the sole purpose of being able to run My Maps from Google. My phone is up for replacement, but I really have become dependent on the personalized maps I create for work and traveling. Because my phone is becoming so slow, I know it's about time to replace it. I've found a My Maps App for iPhone and iPad, so I may just have to bolt Android and Motorola altogether. I'd prefer to not do that, as I have really enjoyed this device, but I don't want to take the major step backwards that Google has taken with Android devices. This is so disappointing.