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.

1 2 3

What’s New

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

01 4 5

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.

6 7

<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+).

MD5: bc3b6ea5740d3e8d4eb4a4a2396192ff.

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[Thanks, Philip Sieder]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • Lalas

    What kind of Cyanogenmod status bar/theme is he using? It looks a tad different than mine.

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

      Stock OnePlus One one. (Oneoneoneone).

  • jscarano

    Why cant they bring back the zoom buttons damnit

    • Alex M Wekell

      Double tap-slide up/down

      Much better then buttons.

      • jscarano

        Much easier with the buttons

        • remister

          Not if you keep missing the buttons. :)

      • splus

        Double tap and slide up/down is better than a single tap? By what logic?

        • https://twitter.com/YannDinendal Yann Dìnendal

          I can do it without looking, I will never have to focus to tap precisely on a small button! And I can control precisely the amount of zoom, it's much more fluid.

          • TheScientists

            Would still be nice to have the *option* in Settings, like it used to be.

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

    This is a pretty big release with several notable features. Cyclists are going to LOVE it. And it paves way for 2-way voice interaction while navigating, which will be very useful when it's fleshed out a bit more.

    Has anyone figured out how to trigger the prompt with voice, if it's at all possible? That would make it 1000000000x more useful.

    • tim

      It doesn't integrate with okay google. :-/
      I was hoping it would!
      Maybe in a future update!

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

        OK Google just calls up Search currently.

        • time

          I know. It would be awesome to say okay google maps!.

        • http://www.cnet.com/profile/NicoleCozma Nicole Cozma

          There should be an "OK Maps"

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

            I agree. I tried, but that doesn't work btw.

          • http://www.cnet.com/profile/NicoleCozma Nicole Cozma

            Yeah, I tried too. I do like the toggles for traffic/satellite/other layers. I still wish it was all hands-free though.

          • dogulas

            I think everyone has had the idea here in the comments :) It seems way too obvious to have been left out from the beginning of this update.

      • Clubber

        Agreed. When navigation is in progress all of these commands should, ideally, be available from anywhere, system wide.

        Imagine being able to interact with this with always on listening or even a Bluetooth action button on a headset. I'm hoping this is Google's way of showing us the future with modular voice commands from other apps integrating into Google Search.

        • Brenda David


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      • jurrabi

        No voice commands for not English for the moment...

    • hp420

      Elevation, FTW!!!!!! I've been dying for them to add this for two years now!!!

    • remister

      How's Traffice Ahead?
      Works thereafter.

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

        I think it may have heard it as "a head" or something super subtle like that. But yeah, it's dumb how sensitive it is when Google Search is so much better at figuring out what you want. They need to plug the Maps recognition into the same system.

        • Clubber

          Yeah. Looks like it's just parsing the commands literally, so there can be no margin for errors.

          They need to let it be parsed using natural language processing so it's not so strict. Hopefully this happens if and when they let the commands be available system wide through Google Search when navigation is in progress.

        • dogulas

          Being able to say "Ok Google" or better yet, "Ok Maps" or something while navigating, to replace the button, would be very handy, since I usually don't want to / can't legally touch my phone while navigating.

        • Grayson

          It does use the same system. The reason it had trouble in this video is because he is using a OnePlus One. The current CM build for the One has a mic gain bug that makes you have to speak super loud for voice recognition to understand. It is fixed in the CM nightlies and will be fixed in the next OTA for the One.

          • Kevin Aaronson

            I have the same problem on a stock gs5 as well, it just will not recognize that command for me

        • Sven Johannsen

          Worked when the phrasing was How is traffic ahead, no contraction.

  • http://meeDamian.com/ Damian Mee

    What is "Uber card" ?

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

      "Get an Uber" - to hail an Uber car if you have the Uber app installed.

      • http://meeDamian.com/ Damian Mee

        WOW! That's awesome! Wonder how I missed that before...

        • officialjebus

          because they added it today?

          • David

            No they didn't, they just changed the place where this appears.

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

            Read the post.

    • Thiago Medeiros

      What's an Uber car?

  • Pal

    Google Maps just isn't the same after switching to Waze. As awful as the UI/UX Waze is, the traffic rerouting is priceless for commuting in LA.

    • Dan

      So so true. I live in LA and use this daily on my commute. I love the UI of Google Maps but nothing beats beating LA traffic like Waze!

      • Morten Ulveseth

        Whats better about it? Google Maps traffic doesnt show what you need? How could Maps be improved to be like Waze?

        • David

          could alert you to police, motorist on side of road, severity of traffic etc. on a road trip, it is very helpful.

        • n0th1ng_r3al

          GM doesn't really give you too many options other than green/red. Wze gives you speed camera, cops on road, is traffic standing still, debris/accidents on side or the road.

    • Lars Jeppesen

      The idea of Waze is nice, but it's interface is clutted with stupid annoying things.. and Google maps now gets traffic information from Waze.

      I think the two applications complement each other:

      Waze is for commuting .. you know the route, you just want to know the traffic and change routes or something

      Maps is for going new places, or places you don't go every day

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

    Here's a quick video demo of the new voice actions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8yhKQBnlfI.

  • Ambroos

    And still no translucent statusbar and navigation bar :(

    How hard can it be to implement that? Google Maps is the perfect app for it...

    • pfmiller

      It's not really perfect actually. The plain map view would make sense, but for navigation and every other screen it wouldn't be particularly good at all.

  • Itchy_Robot

    'My Maps' still missing... just saying

  • @PigeonFudge

    You're a liar!

  • anon

    hopefully they've fixed (or are working on) the ghost crashes, where nav basically disappears/crashes while in use without even a force close message.

  • Bence Zagyi

    Api17 ver ???

  • valapsp

    hate the fact that still there is still no touchless interaction.

  • Itchy_Robot

    Yes, thanks though. It's just frustrating that they don't incorporate it back into the Maps app where it used to be.

  • RXG9

    Why can't they add the option for zoom (+ and -) buttons on the screen :( That's the only reason I'm still on 6.14.4

    • Kolyan24k

      Why u need +/- when it already comes with one finger zoom in/out?

      • splus

        Eh? Because a single tap is MUCH easier than a double tap and slide up/down?

    • Alexei Watson

      you can do a double tap, and hold your second tap instead of lifting, then sliding your finger up and down will zoom in and out.

  • Bender Rodriguez

    awesome! love that bike elevation feature

  • CCSF Question Asker

    You live near CCSF?

  • Alvin Brinson

    download hosts that don't actually work reliably with any Android browser, and try to trick you into installing adware. Can't you guys ever go legit?

    • Eric Cartman

      I can't believe how bad it is! 3 fails, 3 complete but parse error.

      • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

        MEGA always works for me. Just gotta install the app.

  • ash

    I fail to understand why there is shortcut of google earth on maps as it is not available in india and many more countries. It should have been removed or should be there based on location.

  • nxtiak

    I wish I can mute voice guidance but STILL use the talking feature.
    As it is now, if voice guidance is muted, asking all these questions won't work. (no sound).

  • Kuyam

    As a cyclist in the Netherlands, i tend to use walking navigation instead of cycling, because google has a strange definition of cyclingroads.
    For my commute it is 17km walking vs 21km cycling.

  • Morten Ulveseth

    This is the first we've seen of in app voice control right? It gives us some interesting insight. Its not fully integrated under Google Search, so each app will probably get their own trigger words.

    Also, seeing as the commands seem very spesific, I'm guessing that each developer have to set their own. I'm hoping that somemost commands will be predefined by google, so that it understands more such as:

    Skip track commands:
    -Play the next track
    -Can you go ahead and skip this song?
    -I dont like this song
    -Jump to next song please

    et cetera.

    And developers should be able to add their own ofcourse. Will be fun to see how this turns out!

  • CrazyAndro

    fails to install, gives a parsing error. I am on 4.2.1

    is this for a higher version

    • Frank Hart

      Version: 8.2.0-802003424_API18 (Android 4.3+)

  • Poussah

    In French, it's quite funny: the mic Icon appears in maps mode and works there with basic commands (navigate to...).

    In Navigation mode, no icon.

    I switched my phone to English to check the icon appears, and it does after a restart of Maps.

    When I switched back to French without restarting Maps, the Maps UI immediatly switched to French but the icon stayed in Navigation! I tried it, asking in french for Trafic, and it replied weirdlyy, trying to synthetize in english a answer obviously written in French, making no sense at all.

    The strings for French are there, the answer to voice actions seem to exist in french also, doesn't need much more to work. I dunno it it's the same for other languages...

    The strings in French:

    Je ne sais pas comment vous aider.
    Je ne sais pas comment vous aider pour la requête : %1$s.
    Itinéraire vers "%1$s"
    Vous pouvez énoncer des commandes comme "%1$s" ou "%2$s".
    "Atteindre l'adresse "%1$s""
    20 rue Mozart
    Quelle route dois-je emprunter ensuite ?
    Afficher les conditions de circulation
    "Afficher d'autres itinéraires"
    Désactiver le son du guidage vocal
    À quelle heure vais-je arriver ?
    Quelles sont les conditions de circulation ?
    "Afficher un aperçu de l'itinéraire"

  • DoubleP90

    Can this voice thing be triggered from a wear smartwatch? This would be super useful for using it while you have the phone in your pocket

  • http://hostore.ro/ Gabriel Bobon

    Also is a new layout for search results :)

  • godutch

    Bicycle directions show elevation, including elevation comparison for multiple routes (less climbing!)

    But we want more climbing, not less!

  • Josh Jennings

    I'll upgrade if they fixed the rerouting issues in 8.0+

  • TheCJM

    I don't know if they just don't have the data for Canada or what but the cycling elevation data isn't working for me. My ride home from work has some decent hills and elevation changes, but all the potential routes are listed as "mostly flat."

    • TheCJM

      I take it back. There is elevation data for Canada. It just seems to think that a ride that according to my tracks has 234m of elevation gain over 6km is "mostly flat"

  • David

    when are they adding multiple location navigation like on desktop? also searching along a route. this is helpful when on a roadtrip. i'd like to focus searches for places to within 2 miles of the navigation route.

  • h4rr4r

    You have to press a button to use voice controls?
    So why bother with the voice controls at all? If I am using navigation I want voice controls the whole time.

    • jurrabi

      I can see your point, but I wouldn't go as far as "why bother at all".
      It's much better to press a button and then just talk that having people entering street names with keyboard...
      Also I see this feature as part of the Google in cars experience. That voice button can be a hardware one in the wheel for the car experience...

  • Luis Santos

    Are voice actions active for all androrid languages which Google Voice Search already support?

  • kc

    Where's the Avoid Toll (default) option???

  • mkmilan

    This prerelease has no voice input icon!!

  • jeffshead

    No API15.apk??? I still use Android 4.0.4. Will there be a version available for it? Also, I have been experiencing constant crashes and the map area going black since the last several updates. Many people are experiencing the same problems. Does anyone know if this version fixes that?

  • Nasir Uddin

    Does anyone else hate how it gets left and right messed up? Like on the video, it says "turn left on Ocean Avenue" around 1:33 of the video

  • charlesrlee

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  • Your Mother

    I plotted a course that I know has elevation and it did not show on the map. anybody else have that issue?

  • Charli XCX

    Getting warmer. Still waiting for the desktop site to go stable.

  • 玉东 王