Google Maps Gets Some Improvements on Android

    June 15, 2009
    Chris Crum

Today, Google announced the addition of search-by-voice and transit directions to Google Maps on Android devices. In addition, some improvements have been made to Google Latitude in Google Maps for Android.

Searching By Voice

Users can search for a place on Google Maps by simply saying it out loud. Currently, it is set up to understand English in American, Australian, and British Accents (I have to wonder how it handles the wide variety of sub-accents…there is quite a difference between an Eastern Kentucky accent, a Boston accent, and a Wisconsin accent for example).

Once a user searches with their voice, a map of places will be presented to them. Google has improved upon its business listings to include content like store hours, prices, ratings, and reviews.

Transit and Walking Directions

Users can access public transportation directions for over 250 cities. Specific cities can be found here. "If you’re looking for the best route on foot, use walking directions to take advantage of pedestrian-only pathways and to avoid one-way restrictions – just in time for summer," Google says in a post on the Google Mobile Blog.

Google Maps for Android Transit directions

Latitude Improvements

Previously, some users were experiencing some hiccups, which caused background location updates to stop periodically. Google has now fixed this, and users can select "Detect your location" from the Latitude privacy menu, and thir location will continue to update as long as their phone is on.

There has also been a feature added called Updates, which lets users communicate with friends and post messages. To use this, simply click the "updates" tab. Friends will have to download the new version of Google Maps for Android to use the feature, which is still in the "experimental" stage.