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Google gives new vision to Google Maps experience on smartphones and tablets

Google Maps on Tablet

The Google Maps app, which has clearly been one of the key pillars for the company, was taken a notch up on July 11, 2013 when the search giant launched a new version for Android smartphones and tablets. The new mapping experience that aims to be faster and easier, is rolling out globally in Google Play and will be available soon in the App Store. The new version would also be coming to iPhone and iPad soon

“The new Google Maps for mobile builds on the design we released for iPhone last December and improves on it with a few useful search and navigation features. And it’s the first dedicated app for Android tablets and iPads. We’re also retiring Latitude and are making some changes to offline and My Maps,” explained Daniel Graf, Director, Google Maps in a company post.

Apart from making exploring faster and easier to visually browse, users can discover new places without by simply tap the search box that will reflect cards showing places to eat, drink, sleep and shop.

In addition to current traffic conditions, Google has added two new features to help navigate around traffic. Users can now see reports of problems on the road that and they can tap to see incident details. While on the road, Google Maps will also alert if a better route becomes available and reroute to destination faster. This feature has been a core strength of Google’s recently acquired Waze.

Another highlight in the new release includes a dedicated tablet design that brings all the features of this new app to Android tablets and iPads.

Google has also for first time included Reviews, Zagat and Offers. There’s a new 5.0 star rating system that gives users a quick read on how their friends and others rated places such as restaurants, bars and cafes. For an expert’s opinion, the Zagat badge of excellence and curated lists are integrated into search results to quickly spot the best places.

And finally, Google Maps for mobile is a great way to discover valuable Offers from large retail brands, labeled right on the map.

“One important change you should know about is that Latitude and check-ins will be retired. These features will no longer be a part of the new Google Maps app, and will stop functioning in older versions by August 9. We’ve added location sharing and check-ins to Google+ for Android,” added Graf.

The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available. Instead a new way to access maps offline is created by simply entering ‘OK Maps’ into the search box when viewing the area for later. Finally, My Maps functionality is not supported in the new release but will return to future versions of the app. People who want to create powerful custom maps can still do so with Maps Engine Lite on desktop.