Google Maps App Gets Explore Feature, Enhanced Navigation, Tablet Optimization, and Zagat Integration

Posted Jul 10, 2013

The Google Maps team has updated the application for Android smartphones and tablets with an iPhone and iPad app update coming soon.  The application is gradually rolling out in Google Play and the App Store.  This is the first dedicated Google Maps app for Android tablets and iPads.  Below is a run-down of some of the new features.

Explore: The Explore feature serves as a way to visually browse and discover places without even typing.  You just have to tap on the search box and then you will see cards that show great places to eat and shop near you.

Enhanced navigation: The Google Maps app will have current traffic conditions and reports of problems on the road.  You can tap to see the incident details.  Google Maps will also alert you if a better route opens up so that you can be rerouted.

Tablet Design Optimization: Google Maps has a dedicated tablet design that brings all the features of the new app to Android tablets and iPads.

Zagat Integration: Google has added a new 5.0 star rating system that gives you a way to read how your friends rate places like restaurants, bars, and cafes.

The offline maps feature for Android is no longer available.  Now there is a way to access maps online by entering “OK Maps” into the search box when viewing the area that you want for later.  The My Maps functionality is not supported in this release, but it will be added in future versions.  Google Latitude was removed in this version and is shutting down on August 9th.