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Google Maps For Android New Features Transit Navigation And Downloadable Maps


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Google has once again updated its Google Maps Android app, one of the killer features for Android-powered devices, and once again introduced some big, cool features.

The headliner is Transit Navigation, which adds a turn-by-turn, or in this case, stop-by-stop navigation for public transport routes. The feature is already live and available in more than 400 cities, with the new Google Maps 5.7 for Android.

Transit Navigation is the cousin of Google Maps Navigation. Instead of driving instructions, you get info relevant for using a public transit service.

The feature works even if you're not using Google Maps at the moment, you get an Android notification informing you about the next stop. Note that, since it requires a GPS signal, the feature works only for above-ground transport.

"Transit Navigation uses GPS to determine your current location along your route and alerts you when it’s time to get off or make a transfer," Chris Van Der Westhuizen, software engineer at Google, wrote.

"This is particularly helpful if you’re in a city where you don’t speak the language and can’t read the route maps or understand the announcements," he explained.

There's more to like in the updated app, the directions feature now has simple ways of accessing Google Maps Navigation, if data is available for the route.

Improved search suggestions is another addition, all suggestions now have icons next to them to make it easier to differentiate between the categories.

Google Maps 5.7 for Android also adds support for images from Google Places, either provided by the owner or by Google's business photos program, via with a full-screen viewer. This is yet another feature that solidifies Places inside Maps, especially on the mobile front.

Last, but definitely not least is a very cool feature, available in the Maps Labs section - Menu > More > Labs. There you'll find the "download map area" option which, you guessed it, enables you to download the map data for the area around you.

An area within 10 miles, about 16 km, of your location is supported. This map will then be available while offline. Google Maps already caches map data around you for offline access, but this is done dynamically, based on use, the new feature ensures that the entire map is available.

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