One of the more interesting items to come out of Google I/O was all the buzz surrounding Google Maps and it’s next update on Android and of course, the web. Well, we’ve been able to test out the web version of Google Maps for some time now but, we’ve all been waiting for the Android version of Maps to become available with the new and improved interface, as well as numerous “under-the-hood” improvements.
The update is showing as live in the Play Store, but Google note that the update will be rolling out to those running Android 4.0.3 over the coming weeks. Here’s the small changelog for the new version:
*This update will be gradually rolling out to Android 4.0.3+ users over the next few weeks. Users with Android versions below 4.0.3 should visit http://goo.gl/5AMJS to find out more about the Google Maps app available to you.
– New design for Android phones and tablets
– Enhanced navigation including live traffic updates, incident reports and dynamic rerouting
– Explore: A new way to browse and discover popular local places to eat, drink, shop, play and sleep
If – like us – you haven’t received the update, then you can download the APK files and install the new Maps yourself. Thanks to the enterprising @WinDroidGuy we now have a couple of APKs for you. This should be fine for all users above Android 4.0 and this should be fine for those on 4.1 that experience issues. While the new Maps is a welcome update, there are some changes that aren’t going to please everyone, such as the removal of Offline Maps, and word is that these aren’t coming back any time soon.
The new update is nice, and brings with it some tweaks to the visual style that makes the app feel a lot more like Google Now and things are easier to find among the interface. To us, it seems a little speedier – at least on our Nexus 7 – which is always a good sign. Let us know how you’re liking the new Maps in the comments below!