Google Maps 4.1 for Android – What’s New?

Latitude Widget

Google just keeps plugging away with updates to their Maps for Android handsets.  It has only been a few short weeks since the last version was released so we were pleasantly surprised to learn of 4.1 which hit the market last night.  Would this be a minor update with subtle, if any, noticeable differences?  Hardly!

There are 4 notable changes in Google Maps 4.1 and they are:

Updated Search Results – All the tabs are gone, giving  users all of the results on one page.  New buttons allow you to view the destination/result, get directions, call location, or view with Street View.

Swipe for More – The results page seen in the image to the left show ratings, buzz, and reviews.  Users can tap on any one of those to see more results.  Want more results?  Grab the page with your finger and swipe it away.  Going left or right will bring previous and next results.

Switching  Accounts – For those of you with multiple Google accounts, you’ll be able to toggle between your identities.    While logged in, you’ll be to access features like Google Buzz, Latitude, Starred items, My Maps, and more.

Live Wallpaper and Widget – Find your friends and family or view current traffic conditions with the Latitude widget on your home screen.  For those of you with a Nexus One or Droid with Android 2.1, you can set your location and map as a Live Wallpaper.  If your friends happen to come into range of your map, you’ll see them right on the home screen of your phone – all without the need to open an app.

Google Maps 4.1 can be found for free in the Android Market.  While it’s designed for Android 1.6 and above, remember you will need 2.1 if you want to take advantage of the Live Wallpaper feature.

  • Rhettigan

    I wonder how much more battery drain is present having the live wallpaper. It's a totally cool idea, especially if it updates fairly often.

    • Dianne

      Live wallpapers should only impact the battery when you are on the home screen (or lock screen) with the screen on. When they aren't visible, they go idle. Generally I would expect the continually animating ones (water, grass, nexus, etc) to more a bigger battery drain, though its conceivable that the map wallpaper may do additional work while in the background to keep track of your location.

      Fortunately people don't tend to spend a lot of time on the home screen (though more now as they get distracted and play around with their wallpaper :p) so the impact of the live wallpapers is generally small.

  • Josh

    Maps is continually becoming the killer app for Android phones. Very impressed with all the cool functionality Google has added to maps.

  • Once again I am left out on my 1.5 Cliq

    • TareX

      we all warned of this happening… never by an old-gen device with next-gen devices round the corner.

  • Tom

    I noticed that while using the new maps live wallpaper, you can double tap to zoom in but I can't figure out how to zoom back out again. Anyone have any pointers?

    • cretin45

      2 finger tap to zoom out

  • james jones

    This is why I got the NEXUS ONE. It is the phone that all google's apps are designed to run on! I recommend this phone to everyone. Google might be getting hammered with news stories about the slow sales of the NEXUS ONE, but i think they have done a great job of developing for it. To all you G1 owners out there, I upgraded at full price. It is worth it. When my contract is done, i'll change to the PLUS+ plans and save 20 bucks a month.

    • TareX

      Those stories are hilarious. They're comparing a phone sold -mainly unlocked for $529- on the #5 carrier, and ONLY ONLINE, to the iPhone which is selling in stores nationwide on the nation's #2 carrier for $199.

  • Lemuel

    Sprint HTC Hero android 1.5 need I say more. HHHAAAAAA!

  • Mark

    If I'm correct you still do not have the option to save your current location as a favorite like you can on the iPhone version. Still amazed that this option is still missing. For well over a year people have been begging for this extremely useful functionality.

    How is it that Google leaves this out of their own OS version and gives it to Apple?

    Very disappointing, please, someone tell me I'm wrong and missing the added capability.

  • Big Al

    When am I going to be able to use voice dial on my droid? It's frustrating that software so advanced cannot handle such a simple task that has been around forever.

  • kcx

    It looks like the main new feature of maps 4.1 is that it instantly freezes and requires a force close on my droid. By uninstalling, I’m back to version 3.3 with no way to get the updates (4.0) that worked fine.

  • Bruce McL

    One new feature on my 1.6 phone is that Maps does not quit. It's always running in the background. If I kill it, it starts up again. This is with latitude and buzz and all of that other stuff turned off. As far as switching accounts goes, that feature does not work on Android 1.6.

    • I would assume GMaps runs in the bg to continue updating Latitude.

    • Frsut

      Have the same issue with mine. g1 android 1.6 maps 4.1. Just does not quit restarting working in the background. Like a nightmare!

      • Javier

        Did anyone find a solution for this? I turned off Latitude and GM is still running… 10% of battery use at the end of the day is a lot! 🙁

        • J

          Maps running in background on my G1 1.6 with maps 4156 also. This is annoying and I am going to try to uninstall updates. I personally keep GPS turned off at all times unless needed to stop apps from constantly trying to use that resource.

  • coool.. thanks..

  • just want to try this application..