Google Maps Update Brings Biking Directions and Sharing to Android

Google has pushed out a nice little update to Google Maps, adding a few very useful features to the already excellent map and navigation app. Biking directions, which were introduced to the browser-based version of Maps not so long ago, are now available right on your Android phone, giving you the best possible route for your two-wheeled ride. A new Bicycling layer will show dedicated bike trails and roads with bike lanes if you’d rather play your route by ear, a great feature for cycling enthusiasts. How you go about using your phone while riding your bike is a different story (though I’ve known cyclists to be particularly crafty people).

bikedirections_getdirwharf

The update also adds in a new location sharing feature, allowing you to quickly tell anyone on your contact list where you are via e-mail or text (or Facebook or Twitter), and a navigation shortcut makes it easy to get going straight from your home screen.

freedrive_homescreen

Overall a pretty nice update to the app for version 4.2. You should be prompted to update, but you can find it in the market now. As always, you’ll need Android 1.6+ to use Navigation features.

[via Google Mobile Blog]

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  • wootbot

    Hell’s yeah!

  • wwwhitney

    yahhhhhhhh bike overlay is amazing

  • AarynK

    Love the Nav short cut option and bike directions for when I move to Portland this summer!!

  • Phil

    Ain’t it funny how what just a year ago I believe…everybody was screaming for Cupcake. Now if you have Cupcake you’re missing out on everything lol.

  • Sam

    Wow, huge bug: after the upgrade, trying to “send my location” results into the application selection screen to stay open even after I’ve sent the address. I have to forcefully kill maps to get it to restart using something else than this screen (and the “back” button won’t work).

  • destardi

    If Google could integrate “Trucking routes” or if an app could be created for that, I bet someone would make some MOOOOONEY.

  • benderhatesyou

    @Sam, I think I experienced the same thing you did at first but now can’t reproduce it. I sent the location as a text and then my messages icon kept opening facebook, and then it would open the browser after hitting the back button several times from fb. I did a restart and battery pull and now can’t get the same weird results going through the same procedure…

  • Slug2zero

    Doesn’t work in the UK :’( USA only as is said on the Google blog

  • Inspiron41

    i love this new bike map. however, it seems to be missing some know bike routes out on long island, ny

  • YankeeDudeL

    The update wouldn’t install for me on my Droid. Read in the comments section (in the app) that a few people were having that issue.

  • Aaron

    Ya I keep getting a “download failed” error when trying to update this. Server busy? Some other issue? I don’t know.

  • doctorclark

    @YankeeDudeL I keep receiving the “Download failed” error on my Droid, even after un-installing all previous Maps updates (you can’t uninstall Maps entirely). Anyone find a fix?

  • doctorclark

    Solved: delete /Android/data/com.google.android.apps.maps/ from the sdcard and retry the download.

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/android/thread?tid=727d078f174d30a3&hl=en&fid=727d078f174d30a30004866a74301472