New in Google Maps for Android: Search by Voice, Transit and Walking Directions, Enhanced Google Latitude
Article by George Norman
On 16 Jun 2009
Mountain View-based company Google has announced that Google Maps for Android-powered devices has received an important upgrade which comes with several new features and fixes a couple of issues affecting Google Latitude. The new features included in Google Maps for Android are: the user can search by voice, transit/walking directions have been added, new Google Latitude feature called Updates.

Software engineers Ole CaveLie and Chandan Pitta comment: “We're releasing an upgrade to Google Maps for Android-powered phones. We've added a whole host of new features and fixed a few issues with Google Latitude. Unlike past Android software updates for the T-Mobile G1 or HTC Magic, the new Google Maps release won't be automatically pushed to your phone over the next few days. Instead, the upgrade is available for download in the Android Market. Just search for "Google Maps" and install.

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Search by voice in Google Maps for Android
This new feature is pretty much self explanatory: instead of typing, you need only speak and Google Maps will locate the address, business or any other place you are looking for. The voice recognition engine incorporated in Google Maps for Android provides support for the following languages: American English, Australian English, British English.

Transit and Walking Directions in Google Maps for Android
If you want to get to a certain location fast, or at least as fast as public transportation can get you there, then Google Maps for Android provides directions for over 250 cities. If you want to get to a certain location on foot, Google Maps provides directions that take advantage of pedestrian-only pathways for example.

Google Latitude Improvements in Google Maps for Android
With this Google Maps for Android upgrade, the Google Latitude issue of background location updates periodically stopping has been solved. If you access the Latitude privacy menu and select “detect your location”, your location will be updated for as long as your smartphone is turned on.

A new and experimental feature has been added to Google Latitude, feature called Updates. With Updates you can “shout out updates at friends when they're at interesting locations, start a conversation when you're at your favorite restaurant, or just add more details to your Latitude location for your friends to see,” explained Ole CaveLie and Chandan Pitta. Keep in mind that your friends as well need to upgrade to this latest version of Google Maps for Android in order to use the new Updates feature in Google Latitude.

Street View in Google Maps for Android
In this upgraded version of Google Maps for Android-powered devices Street View is tightly integrated with the rest of the app – meaning that it is not an independent map mode. “You can now check out Street View directly from any search result where imagery is available,” explained Ole CaveLie and Chandan Pitta. “You can also long-press any point on the map, in map view or satellite view, and you'll see a Street View thumbnail wherever imagery is available."



Tags: Google, Google Maps, Android
About the author: George Norman
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