Google Maps 4.2 Adds Biking, Navigation Features

Google updated their Maps application for Android handset yesterday and it added yet another handful of nifty features. If you are one of those people who couldn’t wait for the weather to break so you could get your bicycle out, you’ll want to check out their new biking layer. Using your maps, it’s possible to see various bike routes including dedicated bike-only trails, roads with bike lanes, and roads that could work for biking but still lacking a dedicated lane. Check the terrain layers under Labs for the bicycling layer.

Google Maps Navigation also received a slight tweak with the Maps update. A shortcut feature is now available for your Android desktop which puts turn-by-turn directions to your destinations only two taps away.  Touch the icon and you’ll be presented with a host of options to help get you on your way faster.  Users can type or speak destinations, choose from a starred (favorite) place, tap a recent destination, or pick from a contact store in the phone.

It’s also now possible to share your destinations with friends and family.  If you know where you will ultimately end up, you can let your contacts know via email, text, Buzz, Twitter, and Facebook.  Look for the “Share this place” option on your search results page and send exact coordinates to out to those you want to hook up with.  Look for more real-time location and Latitude integration as Google moves towards building a Foursquare killer.

Google Maps 4.2 is available in all the countries and languages where Maps is already available.   Keep in mind that you’ll need to have an Android phone running 1.6 or higher.  Look for the updated Maps in the Android Market today!