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maps

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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 getting cleaner look for maps with highlighted areas of interest

Google is in the process or rolling out cleaner maps to Google Maps in an attempt to show more relevant information to users without overcrowding. You'll notice certain elements going away, but there is one new thing coming to your maps—areas of interest. If Google thinks there's some cool stuff in a particular area, you'll see it highlighted on the map.

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Google Maps is rolling out Wi-Fi only mode and mass transit delay notifications to some users

A couple of very useful features have started rolling out to a few lucky Google Maps users in the last couple of days. If you've been following along with our APK Teardowns, you might remember sections covering notifications for mass transit delays and an option to restrict data usage to Wi-Fi only. If you've been eager to see either of these, now might be a good time to open up Maps and poke around. But it looks like both features are launching as staged rollouts, so don't be too surprised if you're not in the opening group.

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Google Maps v9.32 Beta prepares for "Wi-Fi Only" offline maps and new traffic notifications, allows users to clean up places they've never been to, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

A new version of Google Maps hit the beta channel late last night, bring the version number up to v9.32.0. It looks mostly unchanged, but there is a brand new menu option in the Contribute screen that allows users to clean out locations they've never visited before. The bigger news comes from a teardown. A handful of notable new features are on the horizon, including a true cellular-free mode for navigation, real-time traffic notifications, and more. Since this is a beta release and the Google Maps team has been incredibly ambitious with new features, I expect some of the things listed in the teardown are actually live, but for many different reasons they may not appear for everyone or at all times.

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Google Maps for Android is finally rolling out multi-waypoint directions

As we discovered in our teardown of Maps v9.31 beta last week, Google has been working on implementing true multiple waypoint directions in the Maps app for Android. Unfortunately, we couldn't actually get the feature to, well, work. But according to multiple tips we've now received, the feature appears to be going live for end users. Multiple waypoints will allow you to set "stops" along your route, as shown in the hero image and the screenshots below, a very handy feature indeed.

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Google releases sharper satellite images in Google Earth and Maps

The Landsat 8 satellite was launched by NASA in 2013 to snap photos of Earth in higher detail than was possible before. This is an open project, so you can dig through all the data if you want. Today, we get to enjoy the benefits of Landsat 8 in a more convenient way. Google has rolled out improved worldwide satellite imagery in Google Earth and Maps using the data acquired by this satellite.

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Google Maps v9.31 Beta Part 2: multiple waypoints, notifications about indoor maps and transit disruptions, and more [APK Teardown]

The update to Google Maps v9.31 brought a couple of fixes for users on Android N developer previews, not to mention some other small changes for everybody. But the most interesting things about this version are still buried below the surface. Yesterday, I covered support for offline maps to be installed on an SD card, and now it's time to dig into the rest of the teardown. If SD card support weren't enough, there are a couple of other features here that have been hotly requested for some time, so it's pretty clearly the Maps team is working hard to fill out the feature set for users.

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Google Maps v9.31 Beta promises SD storage for offline maps, installs to N Preview 4 with fix for Android Auto, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

A brand new update for Google Maps just started rolling out last night and it's definitely a big one. Perhaps the most important detail is that this is the first installable on the Android N Developer Previews. The Timeline screen has also gone through a partial redesign and gained a couple of new tricks. However, the really interesting things are coming in the teardown. In fact, there's so much stuff that the teardown portion is going to be split into a second part. Let's get to the good stuff.

Note: according to a post on the issue tracker, this could be a beta release.

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Google Maps in Japan will get translated business type descriptions in the maps view soon

Google Maps is my go-to tool for finding local businesses, but it isn't always the most transparent way to see them at a glance. For example, I'll search for a café in a major retail hub, but half the results will be from the Starbucks inside Target or the little deli inside a grocery store - not exactly what I'm looking for in a quiet meal. Things might soon get a little easier on that account: the Google Asia Pacific blog says that upcoming versions of Google Maps will list business types right in the map view... but only in Japan for now.

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PSA: Android Auto navigation isn't working in Android N Developer Preview 4

And here's reason number 249 not to install beta software onto a device that's critical to your everyday life. Android Auto users who have upgraded their Nexus phones to the latest version of the Android N Developer Preview are reporting that Google Maps navigation is no longer working in the car interface. (Remember, Android Auto isn't an independent system - it needs a powered-up and connected phone in order to work.) The Maps app is simply crashing on launch and returning users to the Auto home screen.

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