Google Maps and Navigation: The Reason You Won’t Need a Map Again

While Apple seems to be quietly and slowly improving on their Maps software, Google refuses to play the part of the shrinking violet.

The search giant recently launched Google Maps version 3.0. This version is a major update to Google’s free mapping app for Android and iOS.

Google Maps is simply the best travel buddy when you have weekend errands to run or are on a vacation. You need not carry bulky maps or keep pestering strangers for directions.

New Google Maps Features

One of the best features to come with this update is the ability to save a map and use it when you are offline. While this feature was previously possible, you had to frame a map prior to switching your phone to airplane mode. The functionality has now been codified by Google with the addition of the option to “save map to use offline”.

What’s even more awesome is the fact that the offline maps enable you to zoom the map out and in when offline. This, in turn, gives you great navigation of an area when you are out of the network range or on foot. However, you should note that you will not be able to get directions or search surrounding areas without network.

Tapping the profile icon will present you with the option of editing the offline maps you have saved. You will also have the option to rename the maps, update or delete them. If you’re worried that the maps will take up too much space, the app will even tell you the amount of space each map is taking up. This feature is great and especially good for people who travel internationally to places where there is no cellular data access.

When looking for hotels, bars and restaurants, Google Maps gives you the option of filtering your searches. You can filter the searches by price, whether the place is closed or open, and the user ratings. Here is a list of some of the new things that come with the new Google Maps:

  1. A transit direction that will not only show you the time it will take to cover the distance on foot, but also tell you when the next train is departing.
  2. If your mobile device has Uber, you will also have walking and transit direction options. You can, therefore, decide whether walking or getting a cab is easier.
  3. The offline maps are synced by Google and so are the saved locations. This is, however, possible so long as your Google account is signed in.
  4. It is now easy to download an area’s map. When you find the area you’re interested in, tap on its info sheet then tap on the option for saving the map. You can then use the map offline. The turn by turn navigation tells you the lane you are supposed to use. That way, you will not miss your exit. You will also have a much better view of the alternative routes, your ETA and distance.

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