Google Maps for iOS gets first big update

The standalone maps application for iOS gets Google contacts integration as well as more local search options.


Google today pushed out its first update to its mapping software on Apple's iOS, adding a few new features.

Chief among them is integration with a user's Google contact list, a feature that will pull up any addresses you have stored with Google, and not just on your phone.

The update (iTunes) also adds a new option in the search menu that will quickly look for nearby points of interest, including restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, and coffee shops. You could search for these things before, but the new menu means you don't actually have to type out the search.

Google released a standalone maps app for iOS in December, three months afterApple replaced Google's technology with its own inside the Maps app that ships on iOS devices. The main attraction, besides Google's more mature set of mapping data, was spoken turn-by-turn directions, something that Android users had enjoyed for years but wasn't offered out of the box for iOS users until iOS 6.

Other features in the update are the option to toggle between kilometers or miles, regardless of what country you're in, and the app's release in Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Google's iOS app is still missing a few things found on the Android version. That list includes mapping layers, the offline mode that lets you save mapping tiles to your phone for use if you're away from a data connection (though it will temporarily save them once loaded), biking directions, and indoor maps. Google has not spelled out if those features will be carried over.

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