Comprehensive search results page, latitude widget, live wallpaper; Maps is getting fancy
Google on Wednesday announced
the release of Google Maps for Android 4.1, the latest iteration of the company's popular navigation app, now chock full of new efficient and bonus features.
The most useful, though arguably least exciting, feature in the new iteration is an updated search results page that, unlike previous versions, displays all the most important information all one screen: business name, average rating, address, category, reviews, etc. Right in the middle of the screen, the user will see four tabs, which, in order, allow one to see the business on the map, get directions, call it, or see it with Street View.
What's even cooler is that a user need only swipe right or left on the screen to see the last or next search result, respectively.
Included in this update is also the ability to add a Latitude widget to a home screen panel; with one click, the user can locate friends or check up on traffic conditions. Similarly, a user can now transform the phone's home screen into "one big, updating map using the Maps live wallpaper." (We're curious to see how this affects battery life on different Android devices. In other words, use with caution.)
Finally, Maps 4.1 makes it easier to switch between different Google accounts.
The latest update can be seen as just another step in Google's efforts to bring all the content of the Web and the versatility of desktops to mobile devices.
Google is a "mobile only
" company at this point, according to CEO Eric Schmidt. The search company sees desktops as losing relevancy exponentially over the next three years.