Google Releases Maps Update for Android Users
Wednesday evening Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) released the newest version of Google Maps, and it has come with a number of incremental upgrades.
Included in the upgrades are live traffic alerts for 130 news cities, a new logo, and the ability to select mass transit types by layer and hide/un hide them.
Most significant is the announcement that Google now offers public transportation schedules and maps from nearly 500 cities. This will give Google key traction in cities where the primary mode of transportation is not cars, cities like Tokyo, New York, and London.
On top of the new public transit maps, users will now be able to save their maps and routes directly to their phone for offline use. This will come in handy for users long road trips or in areas where service is expected to lapse. This also gives Google an edge over their competitors in the navigation market, and keeps their product on top of the heap.
This is what Google had to say about their update: "Now, whenever you search for a city or postal code, the borders of that region are highlighted. Under "My Places" you'll notice we've added new tabs, which will help you access all your information from a single place; from your saved maps for use offline to your starred places and "Custom Maps" created on your desktop. If you enable "Location History," you'll be able to browse the places you've been on a daily basis with an updated "Location History" dashboard."
A key detail to this new update is that its exclusive to the Android operating system. Apple (NASDAQ: APPL) has planned for sometime now to discontinue access to Google maps and release their own maps product for the new iPhone release. The loss of iPhone and iPad users' location data and their ad attention is a big hit to Google. It will be interesting to see the effect on the search giant when Apple releases their maps product this fall.
Regardless of the looming loss of iPhone and iPad users in the near future, Google traded up a little under 1 Percent to roughly $674 Thursday.
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