Google Maps for Android 5.7 features turn-by-turn GPS Transit Directions for those traveling by bus or train in unfamiliar places. Also, users may download Maps to use sans data connections.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) July 6 rolled out Google Maps 5.7 for Android with
and other features geared to help searchers on the go in an
unfamiliar setting get their bearings from their Android smartphones.
Google, which has racked up 12 billion miles of turn-by-turn
driving and walking directions per year since it began been offering Maps
Navigation beta application on Android smartphones November 2009, said navigation
is available for public transit directions in 400+ cities worldwide.
Transit Navigation uses GPS to determine an Android phone
user's current location along their route and alerts them when it's time to get
off or make a transfer from their train or bus.
However, because the service relies on GPS signals instead
of WiFi networks, Google
said the tool works best for above-ground transit. So, use this app on subways
at your own risk.
Google noted Transit Navigation is especially useful for
folks visiting foreign cities, where they might not speak the same language and
can't read the local route maps or grok destination announcements. The app is
also inconspicuous, running in the background while users access other apps.
The search engine made others Navigation improvements. Currently,
when users seek walking or driving directions they must go to Google Maps, select Directions
and activate Navigation.
Now users who select the driving or walking icon for
routes, will see the Navigation icon automatically appear so users can get
access to directions in one click.
Google Maps for Android also has new search suggestions capabilities,
including category icons with pins for a Google Places listing, a star for a
starred Place or location, a clock for previously searched terms, a person for
contacts and a magnifying glass for other results.
Finally, any place a user got directions to or called
directly from its Places page will be included as a suggestion for a relevant
Google July 7 also added a new experimental Labs feature
to Google Maps for Android 5.7
that lets users access Google Maps without a
data signal or data plan for those traveling abroad without the benefit of
Note: this is strictly for users who are planning trips
and/or who have the foresight to know where they might be in a spot where Maps
are required. In other words, it won't work for impromptu, unplanned direction
In Google's example, a user planning a trip to Bordeaux,
France, can access any Google Places page, click "more" to access the
Places page menu and then download Google Maps for Bordeaux with a 10-mile
The download stores the base map tiles and the landmarks
on the map, which means it won't show things that require data connections, such
as satellite view and 3D buildings, Places search or directions.
After 30 days, all downloaded map areas will be removed
from the phone's cache. This summer vacation feature is exclusive to
Maps for Android 5.7 users with phones running Android 2.1 and later,
one of the many features iPhone users who use Google Maps won't be able
Users who want to access Labs on their phone can press their
phone's menu button once in Google Maps, choose "More" and select
Labs. On an Android tablet, users must click the menu button in the upper-right
corner of Maps.