INTERNET GIANT Google announced on Wednesday that it will release a Google Maps app for the Apple iPad that will be available this summer.
Unveiled at Google's busy I/O conference in San Francisco, Google Maps for the iPad sees the firm optimizing the application to fill the screen of the Apple tablet.
The Google Maps iPad app will feature a completely reworked user interface, designed to make features such as navigation and public transport directions easier to use. Google Maps for the iPad will also feature improved search tools, and the firm claims it will be much smoother than previous apps.
As well as Google Maps for the iPad, Google showed off a sneak peek at the next version of Maps for its Android operating system. From what we could see it looks a lot like the firm's iPhone app, albeit with improved search features and smoother graphics. The upcoming Android Google Maps app will also have an enhanced rating feature, which Google said will make it easier to find good restaurants.
Google Maps for the desktop will also see a major design overhaul this year. As well as taking the updated search and ratings feature from Google's updated mobile apps, the firm said it will enhance directions on the web, adding features such as accidents, road works and dynamic rerouting.
Another new feature, albeit less practical, is the addition of Google Earth to the web. Users will be able to zoom out of Google Maps to be presented with an image of the earth in real time.
Google's updated Maps for desktop is presently available only in beta, although users can register to preview it. The firm's refreshed mobile apps will be made available later this year. µ