Five tips for the new Google Maps on Android

Checking out the new version of Google Maps and noticing some new features, but also some missing ones? Here's five quick tips to help you navigate the new interface.

After promising that  Maps would receive a face lift  and some new features at Google I/O, the app is finally delivering the goods. Google Maps v7.0.0 tidies up the interface and brings some shortcuts for the features you use the most.

The new version is rolling out via Google Play to Android devices running 4.0.3 and higher (with an iOS coming sometime in the future). If you haven't received an update yet, sit tight. You do have the option of downloading it from a third-party file hosting service, but this is not recommended.

Now, let's get into the five things you should know how to do in the new Google Maps on Android:

Location information in the new Google Maps on Android, old vs. new. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Tip 1: When you look up a destination, you can slide the information card up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the call, save, and share buttons (borrows the Google Now card appearance). You'll also see the street view of the location, ratings, and reviews. No more trying to tap on the tiny map pin to open the information page!

Personal map data and recent searches in the new Google Maps on Android, old vs. new. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Tip 2: Tap the silhouette icon at the far right-hand side of the search bar to gain quick access to your map data. This data includes reviews, saved addresses for home and work, nearby offers, saved places, and even recent searches.

Google Maps old vs. new layer selection. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Tip 3: Traffic and satellite layers have been relocated to a general menu. Simply tap on the gray tab along the bottom left-hand side of the app and the menu will slide open, allowing you to enable your desired layers.

Google Maps Local (old) vs. Google Maps Explore (new). Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Tip 4: The Local feature has been replaced by Explore. Press the search box at the top and then scroll down the page to find the Explore banner, where you can choose from eat, drink, shop, play, and sleep. There's even a menu with categories so you can find places around you without knowing the business names.

Confirmation that a map is saved for offline use in the new Google Maps on Android. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Tip 5: If you want to save Google Maps so you can access them while offline, just say or type "OK Maps" (Google Glass, anyone?) in the search box. You'll see a message that says the onscreen map area has been cached.

Update: In response to feedback about the method used for saving maps offline, Google has added a new "Make this Map area available offline" link under the search box for faster access. 

You may have noticed that Latitude is nowhere to be found in this version of Google Maps. If you want to see locations of friends, you'll have to open the Google+ app and choose Locations from the left-hand menu.

Have you noticed an important difference or awesome shortcut for the new Google Maps on Android? Share your tip or general thoughts on the new version in the comments!

 

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