Google May 11 brought its biking directions feature to Google Maps 4.2 for Android, along with the ability to share places with friends for smartphones using Android 1.6 and higher. Google Maps Navigation also got a shortcut to make it easier for users to access turn-by-turn directions from their Android phones. These moves are designed to boost the use of Google Maps on Android-based devices at a time when users are looking to do more with location-based data.
Google May 11 brought its biking directions feature to Google
Maps 4.2 for Android, along with the ability to share places with friends for
smartphones using Android 1.6 and higher.
biking directions on its desktop version of Google Maps March 9, but
conspicuously left out the feature for smartphones such as Apple's iPhone or
Google Android gadgets.
While users could easily plan their routes in advance at
home from their computers, this solution wasn't quite effective for users who
wanted to change course on the go from their mobile phones. Adding biking
directions for the Google Maps 4.2 app solves that quandary, if only on Android
Now Android users will see a
on the map that shows bike-only trails in dark green, roads
with bike lanes in light green, or roads that are good for biking but lack a
dedicated lane in a dashed green representation.
Users can also
pick their own route
by accessing the bike layer shown
Users on the go who want to hook up with friends can also
now click the "Share this place" to send that store or landmark's address
and phone number, said Michelle Chen, software engineer for Google's mobile
"If you want to meet someone on a street corner or
gather friends at an outdoor concert, you can also send an exact location from
the map -- even a snapshot of your current location," Chen
wrote in a blog post
. "Just use the share option after selecting a point
on the map, your "My Location" blue dot, or yourself in Latitude if
Users will be able to send places or locations they plan
on visiting to small groups of people via an e-mail or text message, or choose
to send widely with Google Buzz, Facebook, or Twitter.
Finally, drivers using Google Maps Navigation
turn-by-turn GPS from their Android devices can use the new Navigation shortcut
to pick a destination and get directions with just a couple taps on the phone.
Users can select the Navigation icon in their phone's app
launcher to get the new destination selection view; speak or type their
destination; pick one from contacts, choose a starred place, or select a
recent destination to trigger directions and begin driving to their destination.
Taken together, these moves are designed to boost the use of Google
Maps on Android-based devices at a time when users are looking to do
more with location-based data.
Google is competing with Apple and others in making software and Web services that leverage location.