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Google Maps v9.34 Beta adds features to keep maps pointed north, plans to give advice about parking difficulty, and may reveal the return of Launcher Shortcuts [APK Teardown + Download]

The Google Maps app is back again with a fresh update, and this one is certainly interesting. As far as live features go, there are some changes related to navigation that will help keep maps oriented north, even with accidental swipes. A teardown also shows that Google is planning to give advice about parking at different locations, and Local Guides can look forward to status indicators for edits. And finally, there's evidence suggesting the return of Launcher Shortcuts.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog:

  • New 'Keep map north up' setting
  • Accidental swipe protection for North-up mode in Navigation

Keep map north up

2016-08-03 05.06.172016-08-03 05.06.37

Left: previous version with tilt map toggle.

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Google Maps v9.27 Beta Adds More Notification Settings, A Mini-Splash Screen, And Possibly A Friendly Greeting [APK Teardown + Download]

Google Maps is now accepting beta testers through the Play Store, and it's probably no coincidence that there's already an update to v9.27 to go along with the news. The latest version doesn't appear to have any mind-blowing features, but it's not without a few changes to be found on the screen and buried in the apk. There are new notification settings, a new splash screen for Android Wear, and a few hints from a teardown. We're still looking around for more, so let us know if you stumble across any cool changes.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (stuff we found)

  • New Notification Settings: "Show pending contributions notification" and "Driving notifications"
  • Splash screen on Android Wear

More Notification Settings

2016-06-02 21.19.532016-06-02 21.20.10

Just a few days ago I commented on how the Notifications screen had grown quite a bit over the last few months, and with the brand new beta, two more settings join the list.

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Maps v9.23 Adopts Visually Distinct Navigation Notification, Automatically Downloads Offline Maps, And Much More [APK Teardown + Download]

Google is sending out all kinds of things today. First it was Nexus factory images, then an Android Auto update some users can actually care about, and now a pretty full bump to the Maps app. There are plenty of live features to look at in this one, but there is some teardown material, as well. There's no point in wasting words, let's get straight into it.

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Google Expands Local Guides Program With Point System And New Benefits

Google announced yesterday on their Lat Long Blog that the Local Guides program would be receiving one of the largest updates since its inception. Local Guides is a global community of people who love to contribute to Google Maps. These contributions come in the form of writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, answering questions, and fixing data about businesses. Millions of people around the world rely on information in Google Maps every day to navigate to their destination or choose where they want to eat dinner, so having more information at their disposal can only be a good thing. Becoming a Local Guide is as easy as visiting this sign-up page.

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Key Android Engineer Weighs In On Manufacturer Contributions To AOSP And Update Rollouts - You Might Be Surprised Who's On Top

If you follow AOSP code drops long enough, you're eventually going to hear about JBQ (as well as a ton more acronyms). Jean-Baptiste Queru, Technical Lead of the Android Open-Source Project took to Google+ today to talk about Android update rollouts, as well as to praise one of the manufacturers that he sees as leading the pack in aiding the AOSP: Sony.

It took Sony only about 5 months to ship this [Android 4.0 for the Sony Tablet S] after I released the code in the Android Open Source Project at the very end of last year. This is actually a very reasonable time, since under the hood Ice Cream Sandwich is quite different from Honeycomb (and upgrades from Gingerbread are likely to take longer as those differences are huge).

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