As promised early last week by Andy Rubin, Google has rolled out the latest version (5.0) of their Maps application.   The increasingly awesome app brings two major features with its release today in 3D interaction and offline caching.  


The offline map caching is the big feature here as it will help those who rely on app but find they travel in and out of areas of coverage.  Google can store the data locally for areas you frequently visit, even letting you interact with them when out of reception.  Google Maps Navigation uses the same data and can reroute when you drop into coverage again, making it one step closer to a functional offline GPS app.

The 3D features are more polish than anything, but are certainly welcome nonetheless. A quick copy/paste from the Google Mobile blog has these bullet points.

  • Tilting: Drag down with two fingers to tilt the map. Tilt while zoomed in on one of the100+ cities around the world with 3D buildings to see a skyline spring to life.
  • Rotating: Twist with two fingers to rotate the map. After tilting to see 3D buildings, rotate around them to gain a new perspective from any direction.
  • Smooth zooming: Slide two fingers together or apart, and see the map and labels continuously scale to any zoom level, stopping when your fingers stop.
  • Compass mode: Center the map on your location, and then tap the compass button in the top right corner. The map will flip into 3D mode and start rotating to match your perspective, while still keeping all the labels upright and readable.

Be sure to head to the Google Mobile blog to read up on all the details if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.  We’ll be playing with Maps 5.0 while you’re getting your nerd on.  If you’d like to see a great demo on all the features in the app, hit this post up.

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