Get the new Google Maps with voice commands, cyclist elevation info

​Want to skip waiting for Google to push the latest Maps update to your device? Here's how you can get the update right now (and why you'd want to).

If you prefer bicycle pedals over gas pedals, then you'll love the latest update to Google Maps. Instead of just showing you the route on a map with the estimated travel time, you'll see small diagrams that represent the elevation levels along each route.

Bicycle elevation diagram. Nicole Cozma/CNET

This is useful if you're looking to avoid going uphill, even if it means it'll take you a few extra minutes to get there.

The other major new feature is the voice input icon that floats on the bottom left-hand corner of the map area. When you tap this, you can ask Maps some questions about your route, or instruct the app to toggle features. Here are some examples:

  • "Navigate to [address/place]"
  • "When's my next turn?"
  • "Turn [satellite/traffic/terrain] [on/off]"
  • "When will we get there?" or "When will we arrive?"

Microphone icon floating in bottom left-hand corner. Nicole Cozma/CNET

While the implementation isn't perfect (especially after being able to enable "OK, Google" from any screen), it's a step in the right direction.

Ready to test it out? The cool crew over at AndroidPolice has a collection of sites hosting the signed APK for you to install.

Disclaimer: Installing software from a third-party website means taking risks with your device and/or personal information. You will be responsible for any issues caused by the installation, and should only proceed if you are prepared to deal with the resulting consequences.

Once you download the APK, simply install it over your existing app. The new features are enabled by default, so you're set to test them out.

What do you think of this latest update? Have you figured out other voice commands that you can use with Google Maps? If so, share them in the comments.

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