Google Maps was recently updated with a seemingly inconsequential addition: “Reduced app storage size with downloads for different screen resolutions.” It isn’t until actually updating that we find the real reason for the update. Once you hit update, you will be prompted that permissions have changed and upon review of the updated permission you will notice the new “Control Near Field Communitcations.” If you’ll remember, one of the cool new features of Android 4.0 shown off at the Google/Samsung event was that of Android Beam. Android Beam uses NFC technology to allow users to quickly share things like web pages, apps, and of course maps/directions by simply tapping devices together. We saw Hugo Barra demo Android Beam using Google Maps and it’s safe to say this latest Google Maps update is all about the beam.
I did look briefly at the updated version of Google Maps and noticed a subtle UI change with the zoom + and – buttons now being square shaped and placed vertically on the screen. I personally liked the old zoom design better but I’m sure this will gradually grow on me. Other than that I spotted a search menu list on the bottom left of my screen which took me to a list of my recent searches with a simple tap. I’m not sure if this was always there but it seemed new to me. I’ve posted a screenshot to show you guys what I’m talking about so check it out below.
To get the latest update of Google Maps just hit the link below.
Android Market Link: Google Maps