Google Maps Gets Labs And More In App Update


google-mapsI’m not sure about you, but Google Maps is one of the applications I use on my Android Phone more than most others. That being said, when an update for it is available I’m alllll over it. And guess what? Google has just updated Google Maps to version 3.3.0 and it includes a few new features.

The main addition in the application description seems to be Labs which offer:

  • Compass arrow
  • Scale bar
  • Terrain Layer
  • More…

When I opened up the new Google Maps for the first time it asked “What’s new in Maps?” and it answered:

  • Report a problem with the map or a business listing
  • See businesses at an address or near a point on the map
  • Try out experimental features with labs

Once in Google Maps if you press Menu > More > Labs you get to see the following information:

Labs is a testing ground for experimental features that aren’t quite ready for primetime. They may change, break or disappear at any time. Click on a lab to enable or disable it.

Scale bar
Shows a scale bar on the map with distances in metric and imperial units

Terrain layer
Adds the terrain layer to the layers menu. The terrain layer lets you view physical features, such as mountains and vegetation, with elevation shading.

Popular Categories
Shows a browsable list of category searches when you use the search menu item. The hard search button still gives direct access to the normal search screen.

Layer button
Adds an on-screen button for easy access to layers

Compass arrow
Uses the digital compass to indicate the direction you’re facing while stationary

All of the labs features are disabled by default, so make sure when you first load the app you turn them on if you’re looking to find out what is new. The layers button is pretty convenient and as that feature is built out a little more – hopefully integrated with Places Directory – it will be even more powerful.

Give the new Google Maps a spin and let us know how you like it! Awesome to see Google activity developing new applications while they simultaneously improve their existing ones at an impressive pace. Keep it up Team G!

[Thanks Jef!]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Thank you Google!

  2. Is that only for 2.0 ? Im on my HTC Hero and I aint seein that G.Maps update !

  3. @Aftoc
    No , I have a Magic and I can see it in the Android market no problem :)

  4. I like frequent updates, that’s what makes me stay with a phone or a product.

  5. i dont have an update for maps on my eris

  6. I’m on a Sprint Hero and I’m not seeing the update in the AppStore either. I’m presently running Google Maps 3.1.2. I’m *thinking* Sprint might have some sort of special version of Google Maps, which would explain why its not showing up…

  7. Where are your stared found places? I saw some stared favorites but they aren’t mind and would never use!

  8. Compass arrow: Is it means that the app rotates the map depending of the state of the mobile phone, like iPhone 3gs?

    It seems great!

  9. i cant find google maps,google googles in market with HERO,modaco 3.0 -.-” and missing more apps : Barcode scan,app manager pro,quick uninstall pro…u was using market enable 3.0.4 -.-” so sad T_T

  10. I don’t see it on that market either. Running HTC Hero on Sprint.

    Since it came pre-installed, will I even be able to update it?

  11. I don’t see an update for Maps in my Sprint Hero either…. Something janky in Android Market going on?

  12. If you are running HTC Sense, and don’t have 1.6 you will not see the update to Google Maps.

  13. Something fishy with this, nothing on My Hero or Market .

    Phoenix, AZ

  14. why i cant see google maps in market ????

  15. Speaking of Updates where is my 2.0 update Hero? Anybody?

  16. This sucks that Google is making all their apps for 1.6 or newer what about all of us still on 1.5 come on Google don’t forget about us

  17. HTC very late for update-.-” look new update for motorola droid and i wish….>”<

  18. This is a very useful set of updates, thanks Google. The “Popular Categories” feature makes Google’s “Places Directory” app more or less obsolete.

    Hopefully the Google team behind “My Tracks” picks up some of these features. “My Tracks” already has the directional arrow but the scale bar and terrain layer would be useful additions.

  19. why is google only making apps for 1.6 or newer what about use still on 1.5 come on google we want new apps too

  20. Hmm, I just looked up my downloads in Google Market (on my droid) and sure enough it said there was an update available for Google Maps 3.3.x Update went smoothly.

  21. I like your reply “kc”

    why is google only making apps for 1.6 or newer what about use still on 1.5 come on google we want new apps too

    love it :D

  22. I think what you really need is the newest OS version and not new apps for an older version.

  23. @ari-free yes a new os would be nice but htc has not given us one yet for the hero or eris but some new google apps will make me happy till they give us the new os

  24. I currently have Google Maps 3.2.1 patched to work outside the Continental US (Puerto Rico). If I were to upgrade through the Market, would I lose the patch?

  25. ive been trying to download the latest version of maps for the g1, but rooted on cyanogens 4.2.5. i download with no problem but cant install it. phone is firmware 2.0.

    do i have to reflash the rom? any help would be appreciated!

  26. Where’s the lab for pinch-zooming on google maps? Can’t wait…

    Either way, not complaining – quick turnaround times and updates are great.

  27. Got my update on my Droid and the new features work great. Also, doesn’t seem to slow things down. I have always loved the terrain view on my computer – nice to have on the mobile version as well.

    the arrow direction – great! helps a good deal!

    As for pinch-zooming (in response to bazingah), while it is cool on the dolphin browser, I find that because it is a two-handed operation, I don’t prefer to use it, so I don’t miss it so much here.

    Love the Layer button.

  28. and they broke the hack that allowed nav outside of the US.

    Would have vastly preferred to keep realtime nav over the slight enhancements, especially since the most useful (popular categories) is not available for the 3rd largest city in Canada.

    Oh well, back to NDrive I go for nav.

    Note: If you cannot install the update, delete your current version and then use adb to uninstall it (to remove the package keys) and reboot before installing 3.3.0.

  29. Hats off to Google for continuing to support the G1! The new maps app looks fantastic!

  30. I looked into my downloads off of market and there was an update available.

    T-Mo myTouch 3G Update Version 3.3.1 2.70MB

    Love it! Thanks Google

  31. @ Steve:

    cyanogenmod is not 2.0… yet. There are certain parts of 2.0 in his latest release, but it is NOT 2.0. It is modified 1.6

  32. End of January and still no update for my Hero. Same old 3.1.2 version.

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