Google Maps 5.7 for Android Adds Transit Navigation, Offline Download And Better Search Suggestions
By on July 6th, 2011

This is the biggest ever update in the history of Google maps app for Android.

Google Maps has released a new version of it’s Android app (5.7) which now supports better transit navigation, improved search suggestion and the ability to save map data locally on your Android device.

Yes, you can download the entire location of a map and save all the data of that map right on your phone. This map data can be accessed offline, regardless of whether you are connected to the internet or not. Brilliant!

Here is a complete rundown of the new features included in updated Google Maps for Android:

Download Map Data For Offline Viewing

To download map data for specific locations, first you will have to enable the Download Map datalabs feature. To do this, open the Google Maps app, hit the menubutton and choose Labsby clicking through the More optionsdrop down. On the Labspage, scroll down and activate the Download Maps datalabs feature.

You are good to go, now open a custom geographical location in Google Maps, highlight the name of the location and pull in the menu to see the option Download Map data for this locationat the bottom. The steps for enabling offline maps in Google Maps and downloading them on your phone has been shown below (in proper sequential order).

download-google-maps-data-offline

Tip: if you can’t highlight the name of the location, try zooming in a little more and then select Download Map data for this locationat the bottom.

Saving the location data and geographical information of a place locally on your phone is immensely useful, especially if you travel to the same city after every 3 months and forget the street directions to your new office or a favorite restaurant. There is no need to fetch the map details of the same place over and over again. With offline Google Maps, you can browse through a city from anywhere or export the map data to other phones or Android devices.

Step By Step Directions Are Just One Click Away

Google has also streamlined the driving directions UI and the updated version offers more comprehensive details to your destination in fewer clicks. If the route to your destination is supported by Google Navigation and you choose either walking or the driving option, Google Maps will show directions in   an algorithmic step by step way.

Here is an example:

map-directions

Notice that Google Maps automatically highlights the terminal points and the stations in between your current location and destination. You can hop over from one point to another or hit the previous and next buttons to get walking and driving directions for reaching a particular place.

This is ideally suited for novice users, who have little expertise on handling Android apps and they prefer asking a passerby to reach their specified destination.  With the new Google Maps for Android, you will feel that a human is sitting next to you and guiding you to reach a specific location. As simple as that!

Better Search Suggestions

Google has improved the speed and the display interface for search suggestions in Google Maps updated Android app.

Instead of displaying the same icons and identifiers for everything, the new app helps you differentiate between different places through appropriate category icons. You’ll see a pin for a Google Places listing, a star for a starred Place or location, a clock for a previously used search term, a person for contacts and a magnifying glass for anything else’, which means you need to further search for that item.

search-suggestions

 

If you have visited a nearby place before, Google Maps will pull in the data from your Google account and show the name of the same location in the search suggestion list. Google knows there is a chance that you are looking for a place you visited months ago, so this is really a welcome feature in the new Google maps app for Android.

It’s high time you update your Google maps app from the Android market

 

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Author: Amit Banerjee Google Profile for Amit Banerjee
Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee

Amit Banerjee has written and can be contacted at amit@techie-buzz.com.

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