While the Places Directory by Google has been available in the Android Market for quite some time now, Google has revamped the concept of a local directory and packaged it directly into the latest update to Google Maps, version 4.4, available today. Complete with new icon and now simply known as Places, the standalone application with a revamped UI offers users the ability to quickly search local businesses by category or by entering the name or type of establishment you wish to discover. If your search for “sushi” returns a favorable result, you can quickly access directions and other location information through Google Maps.
Along with the ability to locate and get directed to businesses, Place Pages now feature even more helpful information, from compiled reviews to photos to menu details, pricing, and parking info. Hours of operation and a compass heading with your distance from the location make it easy to locate a nearby place that is sure to be open for you night owls or early risers.
If you have never used Places Directory, now is your chance to maximize your local search results. It isn’t quite Yelp, but Google is no doubt trending in that direction. We are sure future updates will include Locale integration that will let you get a better sense of exactly how poppin’ that trendy upscale bar downtown is compared to your local watering hole on the cheap.
[via Google Mobile Blog]