AFTER LAUNCHING an overhauled Maps 2.0 application for Android devices last week, internet giant Google has announced an updated app for iOS devices, including a dedicated design for the iPad.
As with the Android release, the iOS update sports an overhauled interface with new discovery features that allow users to quickly browse and discover new places without having to type. The software firm has also enhanced navigation features in the update, which Google said will help users navigate around traffic.
But more importantly for Apple tablet users, the updated app has been specially designed so all the above features work better and more intuitively on a bigger screen.
"A dedicated tablet design brings all the features of Google Maps, including Street View, to a larger screen, which makes exploring the world from the comfort of your living room engaging and fun. Go from the Colosseum to your local pizza joint in just a few taps," Google said in a blog post.
Indoor mapping has also been added to the app to allow navigation aroudn areas such as airports, shopping centres and railway stations.
"The app now also allows users to see reports of problems on the road that you can tap to see incident details. While on the road, Google Maps will also alert you if a better route becomes available and reroute you to your destination faster."
As well as the new navigation and exploration tools, Google's Maps update also added the Zagat five star rating system that gives users a quicker read on how others have rated places like restaurants, bars and cafes.
"For an expert's opinion, the Zagat badge of excellence and curated lists are integrated into search results so you can quickly spot the very best places," Google explained.
However, as part of the rollout of the new app, Google said last week that it will drop its Latitude tool next month, and will retire it from older versions on 9 August.
Other features that Google dropped into the update included an "offline maps" tool, creating "OK Maps" instead, which grants users access to maps offline by entering them into the search box when viewing the area they want for later.
The My Maps functionality is also not supported in Google's new Maps app release.
While the app's additional features have been mostly welcomed by the Android community, the shelving of some services has not been so well received, as readers of The INQUIRER have pointed out.
One reader asked, "Which bozo came up with the idea of typing 'OK Maps' into the search box to enable offline viewing of the map? How less intuitive could they make it?"
Another reader commented, "With how many complaints they are getting I'm hoping they will reimplement the old way of offline maps."
Google promised that the My Maps feature will return in future versions of the app. µ