Video: Google Maps 4.1 for Android [Maps Live wallpaper, Latitude widget]

Google has just released Google Maps 4.1 for Android devices running 1.6 or higher, and it’s a pretty minor update. New features include:

  • New search results page that shows everything you need all in one place. You can also go through the different search results by swiping left to right versus having to go back to the search results list, scrolling, and selecting another location.
  • Google Latitude widget, which I demo in the video above, that allows you to see at a glance the three people nearest to you.
  • Google Maps Live wallpaper, which I also demo in the video above, is a feature that only works on Android 2.1 devices. It basically makes your wallpaper a map of where you currently are. You can switch between normal, satellite, and terrain maps, and there’s also an option to show traffic.
  • Multiple account support, for those of you who have more than one Gmail account and have different locations starred in different locations, or different Latitude friends on different accounts.

Not anything that makes me go “wow”, but then again Google Maps already does practically everything I need it to do. The only feature I’d really want is offline maps support. It shouldn’t be that hard for Google to solve this problem. My Latitude account is tied into Google Maps, so the company already knows where I spend most of my time. Using that information they can cache the map tiles for every zoom level in that specific geographic area. Each map tile can have a serial number that’s checked against the latest values stored in the Google cloud. It would solve the problem of minimizing the amount of space mapping data occupies on my memory card, and it would also solve bandwidth issues since I’d only be downloading new tiles when the old tiles are considered out of date.

Come on Google, you can do it!

Oh and before you ask, I don’t have an estimated release date for Maps 4.1 for other platforms. Sorry.

[Via: Google Mobile Blog]

  • gerry

    The reason you can’t have offline maps isn’t a technical one. Google don’t own or create the maps. The people who own the rights to them will not license Google to allow them to persist the maps on devices. These people are also the major satnav manufactures.

  • Maildover

    Folks there is a new app in Android Market called *** Latitude Update ***, it lets you select how frequent you want to update your location in Google Latitude – even when Google’s own app is down or fails to update. You can also get your latest location history, see it on Google Map and more ..

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