Print 32 comment(s) - last by elkinm.. on May 9 at 4:52 PM

Google Maps gets new lane guidance functionality

Turn-by-turn navigation has been a go-to feature for many users as our smartphones have increasingly morphed into the ultimate convergence device. Navigation solutions have become so advanced that many people forgo springing for expensive in-car navigations options and instead rely on their smartphones.
Google today is providing some welcome improvements to its Maps app for road warriors that depend on the service. The first of which is new lane guidance functionality that shows you which lane to stay in before making an upcoming turn. This should help cut down on lane jockeying as you approach your next waypoint.

Google Maps Lane Guidance
Google has also made it easier to save maps for offline use. You can simply search for an area using Maps and hit “Save Map to use offline” to have it available offline. You can also give the destination its own nickname to make it easier to retrieve at a later time.

Streamlined interface to save offline maps
Other new features include improved filters for finding restaurants, businesses, and hotels; improved integration with Uber; expanded public transit information; and the ability to see saved places across all of your devices (as long as you’re signed in).
The updated Maps app for iOS and Android will be available later today.

Source: Google

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By bug77 on 5/6/2014 4:10:16 PM , Rating: 3
I think the real news here is that, once again, we can save maps without jumping through hoops.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By Labotomizer on 5/6/2014 6:19:18 PM , Rating: 3
So how does it decide what to keep offline? If I put "Texas" does it download the entire state?

On Here you can select the entire country or state and keep it locally. It also uses that all the time, data connection or not, and updates when online map data does.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By ie5x on 5/7/2014 1:22:13 AM , Rating: 4
They have nerfed the offline maps capabilities. Earlier, I could zoom out a lot and cache an entire city. Now I am stuck at zooming much closer and doing multiple saves. And why do I care what name the map should save as? Stupid maps!

RE: Woohoo!!!
By Solandri on 5/7/2014 4:55:24 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, considering you're looking at a map on a touch-screen interface, the obvious way to do it is to trace the region you want to save for offline use. Dunno why Google insists on zooming and centering and saving a rectangle.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By Camikazi on 5/8/2014 6:09:19 PM , Rating: 2
I so wish Google would do like Nokia does on the Lumias (and probably other HERE enabled phones) with them you can download an entire country full of maps to use offline if you want. I have downloaded the nearest 3-4 states and a few provinces in Canada since I will be traveling there soon and don't know if cell service will work. I've used the phone with network off and just the GPS and the maps work beautifully.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By Labotomizer on 5/7/2014 9:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
Well, that seems rather clunky. And from the looks of it you then have to load your saved map separately rather than just going into maps and having it be available.

I think Nokia got this one right, letting you decide at a state level what to keep local and then using that all the time.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By bug77 on 5/7/2014 9:58:48 AM , Rating: 2
Of course you have to load it. If I save both Paris and London, don't I have to choose what I want to see when I'm offline?

Honestly, this not even new, it's always been there. It's just that since v7 the save button was removed and you had to do that incredibly stupid "ok google" to save stuff. Though, it may not be working 100% as it did, because the announcement now says you have to "log in" (doesn't say where) to access your offline maps. You didn't have to do that before, but I haven't seen the updated maps to verify.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By Labotomizer on 5/7/2014 11:11:09 AM , Rating: 3
My point was I don't have to load it on Here maps. If I have an offline map of an area it uses that in the normal interface rather than pulling it down from the internet. It's completely seamless to the user. I don't have to pull up an offline area I saved. If I pan out of the offline area there's no transition, it just loads from data services rather than local data.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By bug77 on 5/7/2014 11:19:36 AM , Rating: 2
If I have an offline map of an area it uses that in the normal interface rather than pulling it down from the internet.

Is that how you think offline maps work on Android? They're "pulled down from the internet"?

RE: Woohoo!!!
By DT_Reader on 5/7/2014 1:18:33 PM , Rating: 3
No, if you read what he said it's quite clear he means that if you have a map saved locally it uses the local map instead of downloading it on the fly. But if you don't have a local copy then it will pull it down as needed. Thus you get a seamless experience, not caring if you're looking at a local map or a dynamically downloaded map, unlike Google Maps where it's one or the other.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By bug77 on 5/7/2014 4:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get it. What's downloading got to do with anything when talking about offline maps?
I got the update in the meantime. Saved the whole city, went offline, started Maps again and it showed me the city. I really fail to see a problem with this. Then again, I don't know how it works for Nokia so I may be missing something.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By Solandri on 5/8/2014 6:15:29 AM , Rating: 2
No, if you read what he said it's quite clear he means that if you have a map saved locally it uses the local map instead of downloading it on the fly. But if you don't have a local copy then it will pull it down as needed.

That's not how you want it to work. If you have Internet access, you always want the phone to download the map unless you explicitly tell it not to. The reason is because your local map may be out of date. The only way to be sure it's up to date is to download the latest version.

"But it can just check to see if it has the latest version!" And how would it do that? By... downloading the latest version and cross-checking all the roads and landmarks. But if you're doing that, you might as well skip the cross-check and just use the latest download.

Offline maps is for when you know you won't have Internet access or if you don't want to use it (e.g. because it's too expensive). If you're just in an area covered by your data plan but with spotty coverage, you want it to prioritize downloaded maps and use the offline maps as a fallback. Not the other way around.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By DT_Reader on 5/7/2014 1:14:12 PM , Rating: 2
NavFree lets you save entire states and countries for offline viewing. You download over WiFi and access the map from memory, saving tons of data charges. Plus it remembers your route even if you're offline. It really turns your phone into a Garmin- or TomTom-like GPS.

RE: Woohoo!!!
By Reclaimer77 on 5/7/2014 8:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
On Here you can select the entire country or state and keep it locally.

Yeah because it's not like most phones come with extremely limited amounts of storage or anything.


RE: Woohoo!!!
By DT_Reader on 5/7/2014 1:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
Woohoo to you, it still sucks for me.

Stupid Google missed the point of off-line maps! We could always save maps, it just took some doing. I want to save routes . I bring up the map on my tablet, type in my destination, and there's the route. I leave the house and lose WiFi, the route disappears. WTF?? What's the point of having the map on my tablet if I can't have the route as well? (maps are much better on my 9" tablet than on my 3" phone) So Google decrees I must only view my route on my 3" phone, and I must incur data charges the whole trip to do so? Is this a conspiracy between Google and the telecoms?

So even with this "new improved" Google Maps I'm still going to have to pull up the map on my computer and print a paper copy with the route before I leave home. Thanks for nothing, Google. Guess who's map app I won't be using to print that paper copy?

But, KitKat?
By karimtemple on 5/6/2014 1:23:22 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get how the app is blended with the status bar on iOS but not Android (in the first image above).

RE: But, KitKat?
By tayb on 5/6/2014 2:43:35 PM , Rating: 2
I never noticed it but it seems on iOS certain apps are full screen and the status bar is just overlayed. On Android it looks like the status bar is just always there.

Offline maps
By nikon133 on 5/6/2014 5:05:12 PM , Rating: 2
What is the area size one can save?

Better QA
By godlyatheist on 5/7/2014 4:13:13 AM , Rating: 2
Google Maps has too much problems on my Nexus 5. Half the time it will not say the street name or it will get stuck in a random location and not move. The only way to fix it is to clear the app cache or restart the phone. Come to think of it, most of the problem I have in Android are from Google apps. They need better QA. I report bugs and they all get labeled as minor yet I have to restart the phone every 2-3 day cause one of the first party app will mess up.

By Dr K on 5/7/2014 2:25:33 PM , Rating: 2
I have tried most of the Android GPS apps available on the Play store. I still prefer Google Maps. The only thing it won't do is routing when not connected. I use it on my WiFi only Nexus 7 tablet, so I can set up a route while connected and follow directions to the destination. It won't recalculate a route if you get off course, and it won't calculate a completely new route, like for example, to take you back to where you started from. Doing offline routing is the last, missing piece of the puzzle for a sleak and useful offline GPS app. Come on Google, add offline routing and take over the world!

By elkinm on 5/9/2014 4:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
Just updated and it looks mostly like maps 7.x, but it adds more options like the ability to pick alternate routes from the navigation display which 7 could not. It also improved route options like avoid tollways, but that still should be in a global settings page, not just before starting navigation.

Maps 6.x with the separate navigation app (beta) still looked and performed better as 7.x would freeze and crash constantly, hopefully 8.0 is better in this respect.
Also, 6.x gave information about my destination when I arrived, something 7.x removed, and I found it nice to have.

Also, I cannot stand that I cannot pick my current position or previous destinations as home or work locations as the address is often not exact.

Either way, although better, it still pales in comparison to my standalone GPS unit.

Nice additional features
By tonyswash on 5/7/14, Rating: 0
That phone on the left
By BRB29 on 5/6/14, Rating: -1
RE: That phone on the left
By micksh on 5/6/2014 1:20:58 PM , Rating: 5
With Android phone you can get to the destination faster. ETA is 7 minutes vs 10 minutes with iPhone.

RE: That phone on the left
By karimtemple on 5/6/2014 1:25:39 PM , Rating: 2

RE: That phone on the left
By spamreader1 on 5/6/2014 5:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
But expect to always take toll roads if you are within 10 miles of one, even if it is way out of the way. Anyone else notice this? Specifically in the DFW area. That's been my only complaint of google maps really.

RE: That phone on the left
By Samus on 5/6/2014 7:18:09 PM , Rating: 5
the iPhone will always have you take more trollolol roads

RE: That phone on the left
By godlyatheist on 5/7/2014 4:07:42 AM , Rating: 2
Aren't the majority of the roads in Texas toll roads? I doubt Google built in the ability to tell you which exit to get off so you don't pay the next tier of toll or how much service roads to use before getting on the toll road. Yeah, my parents live in Texas and they got this stuff figured out for the local roads.

RE: That phone on the left
By bradhall on 5/6/14, Rating: -1
RE: That phone on the left
By carnex on 5/7/2014 3:28:42 AM , Rating: 4
Google calculated that iPhone user will stop at Starbucks for something to go along the way :)

RE: That phone on the left
By SAN-Man on 5/6/2014 1:28:39 PM , Rating: 2
I never understood why iPhone had such a huge bezel.

I mean, my cheapo LG phone has a larger screen and smaller bezel.

RE: That phone on the left
By karimtemple on 5/6/2014 1:36:01 PM , Rating: 2

P.S. a bigger screen phone would have a smaller bezel, lol.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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