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Retooled Google Maps For Mobile: Looks Good, Does Little

Retooled Google Maps For Mobile: Looks Good, Does Little

May 21, 2011
MacStories' Federico Viticci is all over Google's just-announced update to Maps for mobile browsers. The new version looks great and offers a more robust menu than its previous iteration. Says the misspelled big number:
Now, when you visit on your phone or tablet’s browser and opt-in to share your location, you can use many of the same Google Maps features you’re used to from the desktop.
For the curious, these features allow the user to:
  • See your current location
  • Search for what’s nearby with suggest and auto complete
  • Have clickable icons of popular businesses and transit stations
  • Get driving, transit, biking, and walking directions
  • Turn on satellite, transit, traffic, biking, and other layers
  • View Place pages with photos, ratings, hours, and more
  • Access your starred locations and My Maps when signed into your Google account
iPhone users, take note: You've got to access all this via your mobile browser, as these changes do not apply to Apple's stock Google Maps app. However, using Safari's "Add to Home Screen" option, you'll get an attractive little launch icon, and the visual experience looks somewhat in line with Apple's design aesthetics. Unfortunately, aside from the the social aspects on board (like photographs of supported businesses and stores, etc.), there seems little reason to use this over Apple's prepackaged solution. For me, the latter's load times were less than half of the browser-based version's, and there is noticeable lag in accessing the web app menus. Additionally, Street View seems nowhere to be found on Google's new build, and that -- to me and many others -- is one of the most useful things about using Maps on a mobile device. Google's reworked mobile Maps is no slouch, and many non-iPhoners might take to it quickly. But I just as quickly deleted the thing.

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