24
Dec
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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.

2013-12-24 21.03.40 2013-12-24 21.03.55 2013-12-24 21.04.43

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.

13
Dec
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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.

10
Dec
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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.

08
Nov
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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.

2013-11-08 12.47.09

If you're a regular Maps user, you'll notice that the one-finger zoom gestures have been reversed.

21
Oct
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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.

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The Map Engine Lite web service is available to everyone and has a fairly robust set of tools.

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.

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What's New?

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

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

16
Sep
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The refreshed Google Maps app is cool in a lot of ways, but it was a big change and we're still finding little tricks to make things smoother. Some users were annoyed that there is no longer a direct Navigation app icon, meaning more taps to actually start turn-by-turn navigation. There is a shortcut, though.

2013-09-16 04.59.34 2013-09-16 05.05.22 2013-09-16 05.05.36

Skip all that

When you search for a location in Google Maps, there is an information bar at the bottom with the route button.

12
Sep
maps

Earlier today, Google started slowly rolling out an update to Maps with version 7.2. This is a point release, up from 7.1, so I expected more than just minor changes. While not as big as the quiet Drive update yesterday, Maps 7.2 brings a few notable changes to the table that Google has not yet (or won't ever) itemized in the changelog. Upon getting my hands on the APK, which you can find at the bottom of this post, I hopped onto the teardown couch and dug in.

20
Aug
waze

One of the advantages of using Waze for navigation has long been its real time traffic reporting by way of a committed user base. Now Google's acquisition of the company is bearing fruit as that live-updated data is being piped into Google Maps.

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Google Maps can already estimate traffic conditions based on the movement of Android devices, but this new source of data is more exact. It will tell Maps users about accidents, road closures, construction, and other general traffic frustrations.

15
Aug
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Maps 7.1 is slowly rolling out into the world. Google is making this teardown particularly difficult, because they haven't even gotten around to releasing a change log yet - it's up to me to come up with something. First though, we need to cover the good stuff that most definitely won't be in the change log, because this has me excited:

3D Buildings!

Remember when I found a "3D" button allll the way back in version 6.12?

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