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Google Maps 5.3 for Android tells you where you've been and for how long

Maps 5.3's location-history dashboard sucks in your data from Google Latitude to let you know just how much of a dirty stop-out you are.

Google has launched an update to its Maps 5.3 app for Android, which now includes something called a location-history dashboard. Location history is an existing feature in Google Latitude that stores details of where you've been. The new dashboard lets you dig into those details and crunch the numbers on your phone.

"You'll be able to see right on your phone how far you've travelled, as well as an estimate of how much time you've spent at home, at work, or out," explained Google software engineer Kenneth Leftin in a blog post. Pretty graphs illustrate this data, and the app even provides a comparison between the distance you've travelled, and how much further you'd have to go if you were travelling from Earth to the Moon.

Okay, that last piece of information sounds useless. But it will astound your friends in the pub when you whip the stat out. Possibly.

Google Maps 5.3 also now lets you use the Latitude 'check-in' feature -- think Foursquare -- to set your home location and check in there. Google has also tweaked the way you can review restaurants and other places using the Google Places with Hotpot feature -- you no longer have to rate them just by Google's default criteria, but can now add your own. Leftin suggests that 'view' and 'music' might be custom criteria for a restaurant, for example.

The Google Maps app update is welcome, and will make the app more useful than ever. What about the iPhone, though? The sluggish pace of updates to the iPhone's preloaded Maps app remains a sore point, and doesn't look likely to change in the near future. But, with Google now having a dedicated Latitude app for the iPhone, the location-history dashboard may pop up in that app's next update.