Google is bumping Maps up to v8.0 today, and as would befit such a big jump in version numbers, there's a lot going on. In positively un-Googley fashion, the app already has a changelog on the Play Store. So, we've got a pretty good idea what's new this time.
In two months, hundreds of thousands of people will be flocking to cities all over Brazil for the 20th FIFA World Cup. Since getting around in an unfamiliar metropolis can be a bit of a hassle (looking at you, Barcelona), Google has expanded its public transit information for the relevant Brazilian cities. When World Cup fans get to Brazil, they'll be able to look up bus and train info for all twelve cities with scheduled games.
What's the point of being one of the world's most powerful tech companies if you can't use those resources to travel back in time? Google is tackling this conundrum head on with the ability to roll back the clock in Street View. From the comfort of Google Maps on a desktop, users can select various periods in time to see how locations have changed.
Google is rolling out this feature starting today.
The kids who obsessed about Nintendo's Pokémon in the late 1990s are now the up-and-comers at some of the world's biggest technology companies. If you don't believe us, then check out the following video:
Yup, Google is back to its April 1st tricks, and they're going all-out this year. The video sets up an augmented reality game that lets you go out into the world and catch "real" Pokémon through you phone's camera.
Have you been wondering how you'd keep up with Santa's comings and goings this year? I know I have been losing a lot of sleep over it, but fear not – Santa has a special place in Google Maps today only.
If you tap the search bar in Google Maps, there will be a "Where's Santa" banner. Tap on that, and Maps will take you to the sleigh's supposed coordinates.
If you should suddenly find yourself stranded in a tiny out-of-the-way country after a Nathan Drake-style adventure this holiday season (or maybe if you live there, I guess), take heart in the knowledge that at least your Android phone knows its way home. Google has added 25 new countries to Google Maps Navigation this week, from the landlocked European nation of Andorra all the way to Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
The Photospheres feature has been a photographic novelty thus far, but today Google Maps has added some notable functionality. The Views section of Google Maps already lets you place your own 360-degree panorama on specific points in the world, but now you can connect them via virtual paths, creating an instant, locale-specific Street View. Other users can then view it and move between multiple Photospheres for a more complete experience.
You might just be seeing a new version of Google Maps in your Play Store downloads today - Google has updated the app from version 7.3 to 7.4. There's not a whole lot of new stuff going on inside, certainly not compared to the cavalcade of UI changes that happened earlier this year. A few tuned gestures, a few refreshed UI elements, and that's about it. APK downloads below.
If you're a regular Maps user, you'll notice that the one-finger zoom gestures have been reversed.
Google Maps is a fine tool if you need to find your way around, but Google also has a way to create custom maps called Map Engine. The service is getting a mobile upgrade today with the release of the Map Engine app. This will allow users to view and share custom maps on Android devices. It even comes with some neat samples.
The Map Engine Lite web service is available to everyone and has a fairly robust set of tools.
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.
Duration, distance, and estimated arrival time in the expanded notification
The expanded notification now carries a lot more information than before.