If you should suddenly find yourself stranded in a tiny out-of-the-way country after a Nathan Drake-style adventure this holiday season (or maybe if you live there, I guess), take heart in the knowledge that at least your Android phone knows its way home. Google has added 25 new countries to Google Maps Navigation this week, from the landlocked European nation of Andorra all the way to Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
Last night, Google started a slow rollout of the new Maps with version 7.5. Since the previous version was 7.4, we knew there had to be some key features that prompted the update - it couldn't just be a bug fixer. After thoroughly examining the UI, I was unable to find anything new.
As it turns out, that's because the new feature Google stuffed into the app only shows up upon very specific conditions.
The Photospheres feature has been a photographic novelty thus far, but today Google Maps has added some notable functionality. The Views section of Google Maps already lets you place your own 360-degree panorama on specific points in the world, but now you can connect them via virtual paths, creating an instant, locale-specific Street View. Other users can then view it and move between multiple Photospheres for a more complete experience.
You might just be seeing a new version of Google Maps in your Play Store downloads today - Google has updated the app from version 7.3 to 7.4. There's not a whole lot of new stuff going on inside, certainly not compared to the cavalcade of UI changes that happened earlier this year. A few tuned gestures, a few refreshed UI elements, and that's about it. APK downloads below.
If you're a regular Maps user, you'll notice that the one-finger zoom gestures have been reversed.
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.