Google's developers are back to work now that the holidays (and CES) are over, and the first major app update is here. Maps v9.19 is out and it brings a host of pretty awesome new features. There is a new settings screen for your timeline that gives a bit more control over its operation and what is shown. A new audio toggle has been added to the navigation modes so it's a little easier to quickly shut off those over zealous turn-by-turn notifications. And there's a new driving mode that uses Google's knowledge of your habits and search history to predict where you're going during a drive and volunteer useful information as you drive—if you can get it enabled, that is.
If you saw our post about last month's update to Maps, you may remember a teardown showed hotels would soon gain listings for amenities. Google didn't keep us waiting for long; amenities can now be viewed on many hotel listings and in search results. As usual, we've got the download links below if you don't want to wait for the slow rollout to hit your device.
As a former student of archaeology, Machu Picchu is a place that has always fascinated me. As someone direly afraid of heights, Machu Picchu is a place I will almost certainly never go, barring the invention of personal air transport. As such, today I was quite pleased to learn that Google's globetrotting street view team has mapped the ancient city-temple-palace-agrarian-center with a backpack of many, many cameras.
Machu Picchu sits nearly 8000 feet above sea level, and its real purpose still largely eludes archaeologists and ancient historians to this day. While it's clear it housed royalty and peasants alike, was used for religious purposes, commerce, and extensive agriculture, exactly why it made sense to the Inca to build what essentially amounted to a mountaintop city remains unclear.
Offline navigation and search (and a few other things) are now legitimate features in Google Maps, even if most of us can't use them until our individual accounts are blessed by Mountain View. I get it, I'm in the same boat. Even though there are quite a few additions in this update, it seems that a couple of things didn't quite make the cut; but there are bits and pieces that show they're in the works. A teardown shows that we're probably going to see prices for different types of fuel, rather than just regular.
Back at Google I/O earlier this year, Google teased offline maps and turn-by-turn navigation in Google Maps, a feature that many of us have wanted for a long, long time. Today, that feature comes to fruition.
As of today's Maps update, users will be able to save specific areas to their devices when they know that they'll be in an area with poor data coverage. When an unacceptable connection is detected, Maps will automatically switch to offline mode; turn-by-turn directions, searches, store hours, and the like will all continue to be available.
You'll be able to grab the desired areas by searching for a city, county, or country, then tapping the "download" button on the card.
Okay, MapQuest still exists. I know, now that I've completely blown your mind, I can also tell you the MapQuest Android app has been updated to v3.0, and there are some substantial improvements. Will wonders never cease?
Forget Offline Navigation! OK, don't forget it, but set it aside for a moment because Google Maps just got the greatest update ever, it just doesn't have anything to do with offline. Navigation now supports the option to search along your current route for new destinations. Now you can easily side-track on your long road trips to get gas, food, or even do a little shopping. It's quick, simple, and super useful.
Google Maps received a fairly minor update last night, bumping it up to v9.15. There aren't any big visible changes, and even the teardown was pretty light, but there is one addition to the Settings screen that's worth mentioning. Under the Notifications section is a new checkbox titled "Traffic information." Obviously, it lets you shut off traffic notifications, which might be fairly handy if you already know they're coming or there tend to be a lot of false positives reported in your area. It's not the most exciting feature, but it will certainly matter to a few users.
This is the only noticeable change to the interface we've seen so far, but there may be some others lurking in a corner we haven't checked yet.
Since arriving on Android the HERE app has been a solid alternative to Google Maps. Each update brings something new, and as usual, beta users get the goods first. Today's new feature is the ability to share your route with other people.
Google Maps was updated just about a week ago and there's already a brand new version bump for your navigational pleasure. The latest update rolls out a new UI for planning out your navigation, including a big interactive map, more information, and convenient route selection. There's also a new chart in the details page that details just how busy a business gets at different times of the day. If you can't wait to try it for yourself, grab the download link at the bottom of the article.