It's not update Wednesday anymore, but Google can do whatever it wants with its apps. That's how things work. Today Mountain View has started rolling out an update to Google Maps with some stuff to make cyclists very happy. Not to leave everyone else out, there's now conversational voice actions while in navigation.
Here's everything we've spotted so far – this is looking like a big update, folks.
- Voice actions in navigation mode (how long until destination, show traffic, etc.)
- Bicycle directions show elevation, including elevation comparison for multiple routes (less climbing!)
- Your Places now appears in slide-out nav menu
- Voice icon replaces the "person" in search bar that used to load Places
- Uber card now shown in the car tab of navigation instead of just public transportation and walking
- ETA no longer in bold type
Left : Old, Right two: New
The biking elevation feature is really neat, but listed as beta. Basically, you get a timeline of your route so you can choose one with the least climbing (or the most if you're all hardcore like that). It even compares multiple routes in the search interface. The other biggie is voice actions in navigation mode. There's a button that initiates the voice mode so you can issue commands and ask questions. It understands things like "how long until I arrive?" and "What's my next turn?" It also accepts commands like muting voice guidance and showing traffic.
We've noticed that the new voice input commands are very sensitive. You have to hit the phrasing exactly or you get nothing. It's definitely more touchy than the regular Google search voice stuff. It's pretty frustrating in its current state. All the voice strings are below.
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_CANNOT_HANDLE">Not sure how to help with that.</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_CANNOT_HANDLE_WITH_QUERY">Not sure how to help with: %1$s.</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_DIRECTIONS_TO">Directions to %1$s</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_HOW_TO">"You can say things like, '%1$s' or '%2$s'"</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_NAVIGATE_TO">Navigate to %1$s</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_EXAMPLE_SPECIFIC_PLACE">123 Main Street</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_QUERY_NEXT_TURN">"What's my next turn?"</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_SHOW_TRAFFIC">Show traffic</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_SHOW_ALTERNATES">Show alternate routes</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_MUTE">Mute voice guidance</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_ETA">What time will I get there?</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_TRAFFIC_REPORT">"How's traffic ahead?"</string>
<string name="VOICE_ACTION_ROUTE_OVERVIEW">Show a route overview</string>
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.
File name: com.google.android.apps.maps-8.2.0-802003424_API18.apk.
Version: 8.2.0-802003424_API18 (Android 4.3+).
[Thanks, Philip Sieder]