Google updated its already excellent Maps app for iPhone, iPad, Android phones, and Android tablets today.
The Android updates are available now, the iPhone and iPad updates will be ready shortly.
David Pogue at the New York Times appears to have gotten an early look at software. And he’s a big fan. He says, “This is crazy good software, some of the best work Google has ever done.”
So, what’s in that has Pogue so excited? A quick run down:
- It’s faster: All the apps run more quickly.
- Better navigation: Google will now display when there’s accidents or traffic jams. A little dialogue box will pop on the screen to warn you of bad conditions on your trip. It will also automatically reroute you to avoid traffic jams or accidents. This will be Android exclusive, but will be on iOS soon, says Google.
- Offline mapping: You can save a map for offline viewing by typing “OK Maps” into the search box. Just fit the area you want mapped, up to the size of a city, on your screen, then punch in “OK Maps,” and you’ll have a map to go. Very helpful for overseas travel.
- Google made a new tablet version and Pogue says “on a tablet, Maps really shines.”
- Better exploration: Google improved the search function to make it easier to find places to go. It also has more succinct reviews and ratings. (Sounds like really bad news for Yelp and Foursquare which are both trying to be local exploration tools.)
Basically, Google is killing the competition.
This makes Apple in particular look bad. When it had its big reveal for the new version of the iPhone’s software, there was barely any mention of Maps.
Unless it has a big surprise up its sleeve, Google is lightyears ahead of Apple in mapping. Luckily for Apple, Google is putting Google Maps on the iPhone.
Here’s a video from Google promoting the new maps:
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