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Google Maps 5.5 for Android adds place reviews and public transport

Google Maps for Android has been updated to version 5.5. We gave it a try at so here's what you can expect from the new update.

Google Maps for Android has been updated to version 5.5, adding some extra functionality to Place pages, transport info and Latitude. We gave it a try -- here's what you can expect from the new update.

Check-in and rating are the two major additions on Maps' Places page, beefing up its competition to services such as Facebook Places. Say you're going to the IMAX to see a badass film in giganto-3D. Once you're there, you can check into the IMAX's Place page with Google Latitude. When you're ready to leave, you can have your say about the IMAX experience by submitting a rating or review directly from the app -- just click on the two new buttons at the top of the listing.

If you're the type of statistics fan who likes a detailed breakdown of where you've been spending your time, the new Latitude update is for you. The Location History dashboard estimates how much time you spend at home, work or somewhere else, and it now allows you to set different home and work addresses so you can manage and track your location while mobile.

Public transport timetables

The transit pages update is another major new feature. If you're going from Baker Street to Waterloo on the Tube, for example, you now have access to a list of upcoming scheduled departures for different lines, all the transit lines serving the station, and links to nearby stations.

The transit page is supposedly available for more than 440 cities, but don't expect it to be flawless. It often lacks public transport information as Google is gradually updating the system -- the UK providers are only Transport for London, Traveline East Anglia and Traveline East Midlands.

If you're going somewhere by car, you can also check how hectic traffic is, which can help planning an alternative route, for example. In our experience, the UK traffic info wasn't available in that many places either, but hopefully that will improve with future updates.

If you have an Android OS 1.6+ device, have a go on the latest version of Google Maps 5.5 for Android and let us know what you think.