One of Android's strengths is that its built-in navigation software is top notch, but that doesn't mean we have to use it. There are alternatives that make it easier to discover new places and come up with ways to get between them more quickly. Transit isn't a replacement for Google Maps, but it's a nice tool to have in your belt when trying to get from point A to point B.
Love it or hate it, version 7 of Google Maps is now apparently rolling out to everyone. The latest release is entirely different from prior versions and gives the mobile app a look that matches that of the new Google Maps soon to hit the web. Upon opening the app for the first time, a solitary search bar hovers at the top of the screen while all other options are tucked away.
The new Google Maps app seems to be positive on balance, but there are always some features that get left behind in big updates. There's the odd caching functionality and the complete lack of My Maps, for example. While it may look at first like the missing traffic widget has taken some functionality with it, that's not quite the case. Google Maps v7 contains a
new one-tap directions widget that does much more than the Traffic one did.
To go along with the release of the long-awaited Google Maps update yesterday, Mountain View has just updated the list of countries with full Google Navigation support. There are 18 confirmed new countries, and two that went from limited to full coverage.
Update #6 by Artem: Official Google blog post.
Update #5 by Artem: Google uploaded several official video promos for the new v7.0.0 update:
I'm not going to embed the rest, but you can find them here: The new Google Maps app for tablets, Directions and navigation with the new Google Maps app, Explore with the new Google Maps app, Shake to send feedback with the new Google Maps app.
This weekend the tech world was abuzz with rumors that Google had purchased Israeli mapping and navigation software maker Waze for a sum of over a billion dollars. Today Google has made it official, thanks to a post on the company blog from the VP of Geo, Brian McClendon. While Google declined to mention exactly how much it spent on Waze, it's a safe bet that it was a lot, since both Apple and Facebook had previously expressed interest.
If you haven't been following the broader tech news lately, GPS navigation provider Waze has been the corporate equivalent of a desperate college freshman, trying to find a match before the end of the first semester. The scuttlebutt is that both Apple and Facebook have shown interest in acquiring the Israel-based company within the last year. Now two credible sources, Israeli business websites Globes and Calcalist, report that Google has swooped in and agreed to purchase the company for a cool $1.3 billion.
Bicycling enthusiasts in Europe (of which there are many) are getting a present from Google today with the addition of biking directions in Google Maps for six new countries. Cyclists in Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein can now pull down routes that take into account the available biking trails, paths, and lanes. This applies to mobile and desktop apps.
When biking directions are selected in Google Maps, it chooses routes that avoid busy streets, and sends riders down dedicated bike paths where available.
GPS veteran Magellan announced the SmartGPS system back at CES, touting its social networking integration and "cloud" stuff. The device has just gone on sale in the US for $249, but along with that comes the SmartGPS app. This is a free download that lets your smartphone talk to the GPS unit. If you don't want to buy a $249 GPS unit that duplicates the functionality of your phone, the app includes additional features for a price.
Texting and driving is a pretty heinous crime. Bad enough that it's spawned entire ad campaigns devoted to educating the public on the dangers of such acts. Of this, you are no doubt aware. What you may be less aware of is the fact that figuring out where you're going is exactly as dangerous as sending someone a message that says "Doesn't the Peachoid look like a giant..."
California, despite having no known Peachoids, knows this very well and a court has ruled that using a mapping application is just as bad (and illegal) as texting behind the wheel.