Google Brings Back Offline Maps in Face of User Criticism
Android tablet users will find that the newly redesigned Maps app works better on their devices because it is now designed to render images and information in a tablet format, according to Google. Also unveiled in the refreshed Maps app is a new 5.0 star rating system that gives users Zagat's ratings on restaurants, bars, cafes and other destinations. Reviews from friends and acquaintances are also available through the app. Another new feature is the availability of mobile offers and discounts from national brands like Macy's, Michael's and Toys "R" Us that are presented and labeled on the user's map screen. In May, Google unveiled innovative updates for Google Maps at its annual Google I/O Developers Conference, including a more interactive look and feel. The new Google Maps takes a novel approach to how people use online and mobile maps, gaining the ability to instantly respond to user inputs, making recommendations on places to visit and highlighting information that matters most during a map inquiry. The next generation of the Maps service essentially will create a map that is unique to each user and his or her needs, based on the input from the user. In March, Google unveiled its first big update of its young Google Maps for iPhone app, adding several new features to the stand-alone mapping app that Google introduced in December 2012 to work with Apple's latest iOS 6 mobile operating system. The December 2012 app debut followed Apple's announcement in May 2012 that it would drop the native Google Maps app that had been part of iOS since the arrival of the first iPhones so that the company could introduce its own maps app. The arrival of the Apple Maps app in iOS 6, however, was met with many complaints and criticisms from users who bashed its lack of accuracy and geographic details. The public relations problem was so bad at the time that Apple CEO Tim Cook even offered a public apology for the problems and vowed that they would eventually be resolved.