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Google has been at the forefront and generally thought of as the leader of online and mobile mapping application research, development and provision.  Today they announced some updates to their Google Maps app for Android.  There is nothing groundbreaking in this release but as long as they constantly keep making small revisions over time, it will just keep getting better and better.  It already is pretty awesome but Microsoft and Bing Maps are also working hard to provide the best mapping apps.  Here are the highlights of the new Android release;

Updated search results page

They have removed the tabs to fit all the important info on one page. Now you can tap the new buttons to see the place on the map, get directions, call it, or see it with Street View. The extra space is used to show details and reviews.

Swipe for more results
If you want to get to more search results without going back to the list, simply grab the page with your finger and swipe it away to the left or right to see the next or last result. 

google-maps-android-business-listing-screenshot
 

Latitude widget and Maps live wallpaper
Google Latitude allows you to see where your friends and family are in the world and connect with them easily. (see demo video below).  The new widget allows you to easily find your nearest friends or glance at a traffic conditions overview without opening Google Maps. 
 

google maps android lattitude widget
“Add the Latitude widget to a home screen panel to see your nearest Latitude friends by pressing the “Menu” button from the home screen and selecting Add > Widgets > Latitude. On Android 2.1+ phones, you can also turn your home screen into one big, updating map using the Maps live wallpaper. Press the “Menu” button from your home screen and select Wallpaper > Live wallpapers > Maps. Now you can see nearby friends or a map each time you open your home screen.”

Google Latitude Demo

Switch Google Accounts
“Maps now lets you switch the Google Account it uses between the accounts you’ve synced to your Android-powered phone. From the Maps menu, select More > Switch Account to sign out of your current account and sign in to a different one. Features like Google Buzz, Latitude, Starred items, My Maps, and more can then begin using whichever account you’ve chosen.”

The new version is Google Maps v4.1 and is available in the Android App Market now.  


Google Maps is also available for Blackberry, iPhone, Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile.

Mar 18, 2010

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