Google will be releasing its new Maps app for Android over the next however long. It looks cool but it brings to mind just how backwards the company can be sometimes with regard to its new bread and butter: Android users.
You see, this simple statement from the Google Latlong blog announcing this ‘new’ release says a lot.
The new Google Maps for mobile builds on the design we released for iPhone last December and improves on it with a few useful search and navigation features. And it’s the first dedicated app for Android tablets and iPads. We’re also retiring Latitude and are making some changes to offline and My Maps
In its attempt to continue to fight Apple on its iOS battlefield, Android users got pushed to the back of the bus for six months. Well, the wait is over. Here is a video showing how someone might land in a city with nothing to do and then have something to do. It’s very realistic since most folks fly places with no plans all the time.
Engadget summarizes the improvements with this
The new functionality includes Explore, which lets you discover nearby places to eat, drink, sleep, play and shop, by simply tapping the search box. Enhanced navigation shows real-time traffic congestion and incidents ahead and suggests alternate routes (with an option to reroute). Zagat is now integrated into the search results with badges and curated lists and the rating system uses a five star scale (displayed with a decimal place). Of course, both the Android and iOS apps feature dedicated tablet apps. For those wondering where the offline maps option went, Google created an Easter egg: just type or speak “OK Maps” in the search box to cache what’s currently in the map view.
It’s going to be fun to have for sure. For those who used Latitude (did you?) there is only bad news, sorry. But don’t worry, Google continues to push everything toward Google+ in some way so there is that.
One important change you should know about is that Latitude and check-ins are no longer part of the new Google Maps app, and will be retired from older versions on August 9. We understand some of you still want to see your friends and family on a map, which is why we’ve added location sharing and check-ins to Google+ for Android (coming soon to iOS).
We’ll wrap this up with another Google video to help you see just how cool you will be with the new and improved Google Maps app for Android.
Are you excited?