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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
Google appears to be rolling out a new UI for suggesting attributes of businesses and places in Google Maps on Android. The new UI would appear to possibly be a replacement for the card-flow suggestions UI that has been rolling out for a number of a months now, and is substantially more compact.
The new attribute suggestions UI is surfaced right in the summary section of the place card of a business, with bolded text guiding Maps users to provide information. The UI is a categorized list of large radio-style selection buttons which allow you to suggest attributes for a business like "Beer," "Healthy options," or "Good for kids." Instead of the more time-consuming and arbitrary yes/no/maybe card flow, you get to choose which information you want to vouch for. Read More
Have you ever opened up Street View in Google maps and tried to move more than a couple of steps to get a good look around? It's useful and kinda cool, but also utterly horrible. Every move required a tap on the little arrows at the bottom, and you had to wait a little bit after each tap before making the next one. Plus, the arrows weren't always very clear about where they would take you. Seriously, it was really bad. But there's great news: Google is throwing out the old arrows and switching to a new swipe-to-move feature that makes Street View super fluid and much easier to use. Read More
How many times have you called one of your favorite businesses only to realize, the next time you wanted to reach them, you hadn't bothered to create a contact for them? Or you had, but you hadn't put their address or website in the card, because who wants to go through that pain in the butt, am I right?
Google Contacts [on the desktop] to the rescue! In a new feature announced for the desktop contacts site, any time you put a phone number in a new or existing contact card that matches a known business on Google Maps, contacts will then automatically populate the card with the rest of the business info, down to the profile picture. Read More
Google Maps is now accepting beta testers through the Play Store, and it's probably no coincidence that there's already an update to v9.27 to go along with the news. The latest version doesn't appear to have any mind-blowing features, but it's not without a few changes to be found on the screen and buried in the apk. There are new notification settings, a new splash screen for Android Wear, and a few hints from a teardown. We're still looking around for more, so let us know if you stumble across any cool changes.
Unofficial Changelog: (stuff we found)
- New Notification Settings: "Show pending contributions notification" and "Driving notifications"
- Splash screen on Android Wear
More Notification Settings
Just a few days ago I commented on how the Notifications screen had grown quite a bit over the last few months, and with the brand new beta, two more settings join the list. Read More
There's a Google Maps beta channel on the Play Store now, and you can sign up for it at this link. You can also download the new APK, version 9.27, directly from APK Mirror if you prefer, right here.
We're still rooting around in the app to see if there's anything new, so let us know if you find anything! (Remember, Maps was also updated last week to v9.26.1, so anything from that update is not new). Also remember that if you're running the Android N preview, you already have Maps 9.30, and so this 9.27 APK will not install over your existing app, as it's a newer version. Read More