Google Maps v7 detailed: Latitude killed, Offline maps hidden

July 10, 2013
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Google has officially detailed Google Maps for Android v7, and while there are are some useful new features, some of the most appreciated aspects of the app have been hidden or removed altogether. Spotted in the Play Store earlier today, the new app refreshes the design based on what Google did over on iOS previously, with a new Explore section that auto-predicts places to eat, drink, or stay in Google Now style cards as you type.

There's also a dedicated tablet interface for Android slates, while the reviews system has also been improved. Now, alongside Zagat reviews, there are five-star ratings from other users and your friends to help you choose a place. Offers, from participating vendors, are also embedded directly into the map itself now.

google_maps_reviews

Meanwhile, traffic has also been given a boost. Now, in addition to showing routes where there's heavy congestion with color-coding, Google also offers more in-depth information on each incident by tapping it on the map.

google_maps_traffic

Driving directions can also flag up a new route which is potentially faster based on upcoming congestions, similar to what we've seen from connected standalone PNDs from TomTom and others. Google Maps now offers to reroute in order to bypass incidents, if the alternative will be quicker.

However, the app has some changes that users may not appreciate so much. My Maps support is gone, for instance, though Google says it will return in a future version. Latitude, SlashGear notes, is being axed altogether. As of August 9, 2013, Latitude will be shut down completely, and friends lists deleted.

Instead, Google suggests, Latitude addicts should jump over to Google+, which already supports check-ins and location sharing.

The other big change is the burying of offline maps. Whereas at first glance the feature is apparently gone altogether, the option to cache a section of the map missing from the settings page, in fact it's merely accessed in a different way. Panning the map to a part you wish to cache, and then typing "OK Maps" into the search box, saves the section for later use.


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  • whatsnex

    I don’t know how they can call it an “update” when they’ve removed useful features like My Maps and Offline. I’d call that a regression. Looks better, does less is how I’d describe this version.

    • slwerner

      Seems as if Google has made the mistake of thinking that Android Google Maps users are just like their air-head iOS users who’s primary use of Maps is to find hip places to be seen eating, and to constantly annoy everyone with their every move.

      At least they (sort of) preserved the off-line maps feature for us non-hipsters who like to be able to use Maps where data service coverage doesn’t extend.

      • David

        Agree and Agree. This is a VERY bad update. Between this and Google Reader, it seems G is intent on destroying products its long time supporters use in favor of catering to masses who seem to think “options” are confusing.

        But why did they have to bury the setting for offline? There is a whole SETTINGS MENU in the app.

        Even though “my maps” supposedly will be back… why even RELEASE the app without that functionality. Some people rely on that for work/business purposes. I recently showed a coworker how he could do that to easily navigate to 30 locations across the state using his familiar Gmaps interface instead of relying on an outdated laptop GPS system.

  • David714

    OMG, please put latitude back!!!

  • Juan

    Please put back LATITUDE !!!