Google Maps App Tricks for Android, iPhone, iPad

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-08-06 Print this article Print
mobile apps

Users should note that some of the new Maps features are not available in all countries or on all devices. Additional tips for using the new and improved Google Maps apps for Android, iPhone and iPad are available on the Maps help page.

The new Google Maps app for iPhones and iPads was launched in mid-July, just six days after the company unveiled its latest Maps app for Android.

The updated iOS Maps app, Version 2.0, includes enhanced search and navigation capabilities, as well as Google's first dedicated iPad mapping experience. The optimized iPad integration brings all the features of Google Maps, including Street View, to a larger screen. The enhanced navigation features mean that iPhone users can access Google Maps to find out what is happening real time amid the traffic they are traveling in. The live updates provide users with live incident reports on road closures, construction, accidents, and other delays and incidents.

The new Android Maps app got a new "explore" option that allows users to visually browse and discover new places without typing. Instead, users can tap the search box, and they'll see pop-up "cards" that display nearby places to eat, drink, sleep and shop.

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, wrote Graf.  Some of the new features are not available in all countries.

Interestingly, Google's unveiling of the Android version of the app on July 10 didn't happen without controversy. Within hours of releasing the new Android Maps app—which had been stripped of its offline maps function—the company rushed an update that restored the missing function after it heard a barrage of criticism from angry users of the feature.

That initial feedback caused Google to change its course, a company spokesman told eWEEK. "After seeing some of the comments and reactions of users around the world who were missing the offline functionality, our engineering team worked around the clock to develop an easier way to cache a map for offline use," the spokesman stated. 

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.


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