Google Maps update brings Walking Navigation Beta and more

screenshots of the updated Google Maps for Android
screenshots of the updated Google Maps for Android

Google Maps for Android has been updated again and this time around some features that many have been looking for are present. The Maps update includes Walking Navigation Beta, a slightly tweaked search bar and Street View smart navigation.

The Google Mobile blog lays out what the new features will bring you:

Walking Navigation

Walking Navigation lets you use GPS navigation with walking directions that are more direct and use pedestrian pathways when we know about them. To try it now, choose the “Walking” option from the Navigation icon. Walking Navigation has a few changes that help when you’re on your feet. For example, your phone will vibrate when you need to make a turn. You can even turn off voice guidance and just use these notifications while soaking in the sights and sounds around you. To help you orient yourself with your surroundings, the map will rotate with you as you turn the phone, and walking mode uses satellite view by default. Use it like a virtual compass with satellite imagery to look ahead or help pick out landmarks along the way.

Street View smart navigation

If you want a sneak preview of where you’re going, use the new Street View on Google Maps with smart navigation and updated imagery. Just like with Street View smart navigation on your computer, you no longer have to slowly move down a street by tapping arrows along roads repeatedly. Now you can quickly navigate Street View by dragging Pegman from the corner and highlighting where you want to go with a lightly shaded “pancake” on roads or a rectangle on buildings. Let go of the screen when highlighting the front of a building, and you’ll fly there and turn to face it. With a swipe of your finger, you can hop rivers and scale buildings.

New Google Maps search bar

At the top of the map, you’ll find the new Google Maps search bar always available for easy access. Tap it to quickly start searching, open Places, use the Layers menu, or find yourself on the map with My Location. Here are more new features that may be helpful when you’re looking for nearby places:

  • Filter search results by distance or ratings
  • View prices categorized with dollar signs
  • See cross streets for places.

So, while it’s not the biggest update, the additions are very welcomed and I’m looking forward to trying out the Walking Nav soon. Google Maps 4.5 is available to anyone with an Android handset running version 1.6 or higher. Google has been updating the Maps application probably more than any other app available to Android users, with Google Voice coming in a close second. We’re excited to see what else Google can cook up for us in the future.

Thanks for giving us two updates in one day, G. Now, hurry up with Google Finance!

[Via: Google Mobile]

  • Sandor

    Great stuff! Works in the Netherlands too. Popup that shows up when choosing navigation looks a bit different on my phone though… Supports public transport as well!

    • Sandor

      Oops; altough the public transport option is already there it fails to find a route, but good to see that they are planning to introduce this as well…

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