Google Maps was updated to version 4.60 last week, and you may not have noticed it on the surface, but contained inside were some interesting resources providing an early glimpse at the style direction Gingerbread is set to take. Freenode IRC member canadiancow rather astutely spotted that there was a folder contained within the 4.60 APK that included icons and styling for API level 9, whilst we're currently on level 8 with Froyo.
Google's on a roll today with app updates; first it was the new Google Voice featuring not one, but two widgets, and now they're rolling out a new version of Google Maps which promises to teach us to "walk this way."
The update includes a feature called "Walking Navigation," which is essentially turn-by-turn navigation, only for pedestrians and not drivers. It is now able to:
- provide up-to-the minute walking directions to from where you stand now to your destination, complete with blue and white arrows to indicate where you stand and where you should go
- provide more direct routes
- offer voice guidance (which can be turned off)
- a map that rotates as you rotate
- turn on satellite imagery by default
- vibrate your phone when you need to make a turn
Revolutionary it may not be, but it's certainly an improvement over the feature it replaces, "Walking Directions."
Also new is the Google Maps search bar, which allows you to:
- start searching for a place
- open Places
- use the Layers menu
- find yourself on the map with My Location
- filter search results by distance or ratings
- view prices categorized by dollar signs
- see cross streets for places
In one final change, Google's gone and revamped Street View.
As we mentioned earlier, Behold II will not be getting past 1.6, to shock and outrage of numerous device owners, and this week will be the last (if not the only) highlight of Behold's about to be slow and boring life.
- reviews for places now contain more detailed ratings of individual qualities, such as food, service, selection, atmosphere, value, and more
- public transit stations now contain schedules, making half of the public transportation apps out there instantly obsolete, especially considering that Google Maps on Android supports getting directions via public transport
- adding friends in Latitude, which is Google's version of foursquare, is now very easy - in fact some of you (*cough* @Stericson *cough*) have been doing nothing but adding Latitude friends all day
Overall, excellent update, Google!
This morning, a post on the Google Blog confirmed that Navigation is now available in 11 more countries, including Canada, France, Germany and Italy.