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.
Google Maps is practical, but Google Earth is kind of the show off side of Google's mapping project. You can explore satellite imagery from all over the world and check out detailed 3D photos of many areas. Now there's even more to see in Google Earth with the addition of your geocoded Google+ photos.
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.
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.
Google announced today the addition of over 1,000 new Street View locations to Google Maps, which are sure to make the upcoming revamp an even more immersive experience. The new locations include the usual tourists attractions such as historical landmarks and sports stadiums. Americans who are still a little queasy at the thought of hopping on a plane can tour the Singapore Zoo from their living room sofa. Other Singaporean attractions include the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade and the Fullerton Heritage Promenade.
Right off the bat here at Google I/O, the company is telling developers about some awesome new tools for apps. A new series of APIs will enable a variety of new services for both developers and end users. Here are some of the highlights.
Version 2 of the Location API, which includes:
- Geofencing (assigning triggers to specific geographical locations) and up to 100 fences per app
- a fused location provider, which should allow for active location gathering at just 1% battery drain per hour or increased accuracy
- Activity recognition - API can recognize if users are walking, biking, driving, et cetera.