Google June 2 added biking directions and shared locations to its new Google Maps 4.2 for BlackBerry application, part of the company's work to boost mobile app functionality across all major platforms.
Google added biking directions to Google Maps in March and the company has worked hard to port these capabilities to its mobile apps. Google then adapted biking directions for Google Maps 2.2 for Android May 11, the first mobile platform to get the feature.
Now BlackBerry users who are also bicyclists can use Google Maps to get an optimal bicycling route in the United States.
Google Maps sports a bicycling layer that surfaces bike-only trails in dark green, roads with bike lanes in light green. Roads that are good for biking but don't have a dedicated lane are represented in dashed green.
Just as with Google Maps 2.2 for Android, BlackBerry for Maps users can use a location sharing feature to meet up with friends. Users searching for local businesses will see a redesigned list view of results.
Choosing a result yields a search results page with buttons for directions, calling and reviews. Tapping the "share this place" option lets users send anyone info about a business or even a location by e-mail or text message, inviting friends to meet them there.
BlackBerry users can go to m.google.com/maps in their BlackBerry browser to install version 4.2.
Google June 2 also added results for mobile applications to its mobile search results, a nod to the company's belief that applications are nearly impossible to find outside of a store such as Apple's App Store or Google's own Android Market.
When U.S. users navigate to Google.com on their iPhone or Android-powered smartphone and search for an app, Google will show special links and content at the top of the search results. When users stumble across highly-rated apps, they may also see the app's price, rating, and publisher.
Users can tap these results to be immediately whisked to the app's Web page in the App Store or Android Market.
"As mobile apps continue to proliferate in stores like Android Market and the iPhone App Store, finding relevant information on the Web about these apps is becoming more important to help you decide which apps to download," Google programmers wrote in a blog post.
There is a tasty irony in this move from Google, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs angered when he said people for the most part don't use search on smartphones. Google has tried to provide data to the contrary.
Mobile app search results are available now in the United States, but Google said it will bring them to other countries and devices, likely the BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 devices, in the future.