Google today introduced a new Google Maps app for Android smartphones and tablets, also coming soon to iPhone and iPad. The new Google Maps for Android includes features that combine geolocation with more real-world information, such as restaurant reviews from Zagat target Yelp.
The app is gradually rolling out globally in Google Play and will be available soon in the App Store.
The new Google Maps for mobile builds on the design Google released for iPhone last December and improves on it with a few search and navigation features. And it's the first dedicated app for Android tablets and iPads. Google is also retiring Latitude and is making some changes to offline and My Maps.
The updated Google Map app for Android devices features 'Explore', an
easy way to visually browse and discover new places without even typing. By tapping the search box you'll see cards showing places to eat, drink, sleep and shop.
In addition to current traffic conditions, Google added two new features to help you navigate around traffic. You can now 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. This feature is available only on Android and is coming soon to iOS.
A dedicated tablet design brings all the features of this new app to Android tablets and iPads.
There?s also a new 5.0 star rating system that gives you a quick read on how your friends and others rate places like restaurants, bars and cafes. For an expert?s opinion, the Zagat badge of excellence and curated lists are integrated into search results.
And finally, Google Maps for mobile offers you a way to discover valuable Offers from national brands like Macy's, Michael's and Toys "R" Us, labeled right on the map.
Google said that Latitude and check-ins are no longer part of the new Google Maps app, and will be retired from older versions on August 9. For those who still want to see their friends and family on a map, Google has added location sharing and check-ins to Google+ for Android (coming soon to iOS).
The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available. Instead Google has created a new way for you to access maps offline by entering "OK Maps" into the search box when viewing the area you want for later. Finally, My Maps functionality is not supported in this release but will return to future versions of the app. If you want to create custom maps you can still do so with Maps Engine Lite on desktop.