Mountain View-based Internet giant Google has just performed an update for one of the most popular solutions it offers to mobile phone users, Google Maps. A new version of Google Maps is now available for the owners of a device running under the company's mobile operating system, Android, offering them the possibility to enjoy biking directions, share places with their friends, start Navigation from the handset's Home screen, and others more. According to the company, Google Maps 4.2 has been tailored to offer an enhanced experience both for those on 4 wheels, and for those on 2.
“Since launching biking directions on desktop Google Maps, we’ve wanted to get you biking directions, lanes, and trails on your phone too. Just in time for National Bike Month, select the bike icon when getting directions to get an optimal bicycling route in the U.S. If you’re in the mood for a more scenic ride, you’ll also see the Bicycling layer on the map which shows dedicated bike-only trails (dark green), roads with bike lanes (light green), or roads that are good for biking but lack a dedicated lane (dashed green). You can always turn on this layer from the Layers menu to pick your own route. Add in the Labs’ Terrain layer, and you can decide to either climb or avoid that big hill on the way home,” a recent post on the Google Mobile Blog reads.
Google Maps 4.2 is meant to offer drivers an easier and faster way to use Google Maps Navigation when needed, and a new Navigation shortcut comes in exactly for that. Users can choose a destination and get things going with only 2 taps of the finger. All that users need to do is to hit the 'Navigation' icon in the phone's app launcher to go to the destination selection, where they can speak or type the destination, choose a starred place, and others more. To make things even easier, one can place the Navigation icon on the Homescreen of the device.
Sharing places or destinations with friends is another easy task. When searching for a place, from the results page, one can choose the 'Share this place' option to send the info on that place to contacts. Moreover, one can send an exact location from the map, and even a snapshot of a current location. “Just use the share option after selecting a point on the map, your “My Location” blue dot, or yourself in Latitude if it’s enabled,” the aforementioned blog post notes. Depending on the number of contacts users would like to share a place with, they can use email or text messages, as well as solutions like Google Buzz, Facebook, or Twitter.
All these new goodies are now available for handsets powered by Android 1.6 or higher, and can be downloaded for free from the Android Market. The new Google Maps 4.2 is available in all countries and languages the previous version of the solution was available.