Earlier today, Google started a staged rollout of a new point release of Google Maps. We've been poring over all the UI differences between the new version 7.3 and the previous version 7.2 from last month for the last couple of hours and managed to catch a few interesting changes. Since the official changelog isn't out yet, these will have to do for now.

Here's what we've spotted.


What's New?

Duration, distance, and estimated arrival time in the expanded notification

The expanded notification now carries a lot more information than before. The additions are:

  • Time to destination.
  • Distance to destination.
  • Estimated arrival time.

These definitely make the expanded notification a whole lot more useful.

wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-22-30-04 wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-22-31-02

Left: Maps 7.3; right: Maps 7.2

Much more compact navigation cards

Check out the slimmer, shorter, less bloated navigation cards. You can't even tell at first sight, but the new view contains exactly the same information, except it's much more streamlined. 4 lines turn into 2. 3 into 1. Fantastic.

wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-22-06-42 wm_Screenshot_2013-10-09-22-06-58

Left: Maps 7.3; right: Maps 7.2

Discard confirmations

Maps 7.3 will now ask you to confirm discarding what you just wrote while leaving or editing a review instead of just going back and wiping out anything you've typed up.

The prompt variations are:

  • Do you want to discard this review?
  • Do you want to discard changes?

Here's an example prompt when backing out of a review:



Outside of these user-facing changes, Maps 7.3 adds Google Analytics for internal app usage reporting.

There's also a lot of under-the-hood activity related to offers and ads, though I can't pinpoint what's going on exactly just yet.

A few icons that were probably previously rendered with maps remotely look cached now - the fewer server requests, the better.

Catching of maps.google.is urls has been added, and maps.google.ee handling has been fixed (it was previously incorrectly set to catch maps.google.com.ee instead).

Finally, there's an undo button image, though I think it's only related to reporting feedback (I was unable to find it in the UI).


Note: While this APK will work fine, it may not be optimized for your device since Google generates multiple APKs for various screen sizes and densities. You can safely install it and later either wait for the next update directly from the Play Store, or simply uninstall updates and have the Play Store take care of the rest once the staged rollout is complete.

I recommend downloading the APK with the minimum Android version that is as close to your device's as possible.

Android 4.3+:

Android 4.0.3+:

Google Maps
Google Maps
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Thanks, Steven Zeck and Cliff Wade for the APKs as well as Cody Toombs, Josh Brown, and Nick Wells for their help with the teardown!