Google has released Google Maps for mobile version 4.4, and this comes with a new dedicated "Places" icon designed to make it easier to find nearby places with updated Place Pages.
The icon appears on Android-powered devices in the app launcher along with all of the other apps. This way you can go right to Places from the homescreen if you choose to add it.
Michael Siliski, Product Manager for the Google Mobile Team explains:
Search for several convenient types of places with the default categories or add your own for your most frequent searches. You can also use the search bar at the top to type or speak any query. I tend to use the “coffee” search a lot, but I’ve also looked for “gas stations” on the road, “ice cream shops” in my neighborhood, and even specific places like “Chelsea Market” on a recent trip to New York.
Of course, you’ll often want to learn more before deciding where to go. With updated Place Pages, you should be able to find all you need to know about a place, whether you’re wandering into a new restaurant or deciding from your couch. In addition to photos and reviews, Place Pages now have a bunch of new details, such as prices, parking and menu links to inform your quest for the perfect steak. You’ll also notice that the search results list now highlights business opening hours in addition to compass direction and distance — consider it your late night caffeine radar.
The new version of Google Maps and the Places icon are available for devices running Android version 1.6 and higher. They can be found by searching for Google Maps in the Android Market. Blackberry users will soon get the new features.