Google announced today the release of a new Google Maps app for Android devices, with iPhone and iPad versions soon to follow. According to the announcement, the new Google Maps app will include more search functionality and updated navigation features, as well as Zagat reviews and discount offers for specific destinations. Google has also created a tablet-specific design of the app for Android tablets and iPads.
With the new app, users can find locations without typing by tapping the search box to see cards showing eat, drink and shopping options. Google claims this new search functionality will give users, “…a fast and easy way to visually browse and discover new places.”
The Google Maps app also comes with two new navigation features: one that reports road problems and provides incident details, and a second that alerts users to a better route should one become available. For now, only Android users will have access to the feature offering re-route information, with iOS devices getting it soon.
The new Google Maps app will have a 5.0 star rating system for places like restaurants, bars and cafes with the Zagat badge of excellence and curated lists integrated into search results.
Users will also see discount offers from national retail locations highlighted on the map; Google listed Macy’s, Michael’s and Toys “R” Us as examples of the national brands offering discounts.
In an effort to make the tablet version of the app, “…much more fluid, smooth and fun,” Google has created a dedicated tablet design for Android tablet and iPad users.
Along with all the new updates, the newly launched Google Maps app will lack one specific feature. Google announced that they are retiring Latitudes and check-ins as of August 9, pushing users toward the location sharing and check-in features on Google+. While location sharing is currently only available on Google+ for Android, Google claims it is coming soon to iOS.
Other features not included in the new app are the offline maps feature for Android and My Maps. In place of the offline maps feature, users can enter “OK Maps” into the search box when viewing a location they want saved for later. While the new Google Maps app does not support My Maps functionality, Google says it will be added to future versions of the app.
Postscript: According to a Google spokesperson, the new Google Maps app is being updated with a “Make this map area available offline” card below the search box in response to user feedback wanting access to offline maps. The update started rolling-out globally on July 11.