Google Maps updated for iOS and Android, improves navigation tools, offline maps support

google mapsGoogle has updated its mobile mapping apps with the release of Google Maps for iOS 3.0 and Google Maps for Android 8.0.

Both platforms gain improved turn-by-turn navigation controls as well as the addition of travel time estimates. Also added is support for saving offline maps with user-defined names and tagging favorite locations when signed in for access via any device.

The improved navigation mode now provides all users with the ability to view travel time, journey distance and estimated arrival. Turn-by-turn improvements include lane guidance (restricted to parts of the US, Canada and Japan) and easy access to the route overview, while Android users now gain quick access to alternate routes.

Users also gain the ability to save offline maps to a custom list for when traveling or struggling with a slow connection -- this basically means that when users come to save their map for offline use they can give it a descriptive name that can be easily retrieved later by tapping their profile icon in the Search box.

The new release also adds new places filters, which allows users to browse restaurants, hotels and bars more quickly by adding filters for price, rating, opening hours and other criteria. Support for Favorite places also means that when users are signed in, they can tap the star button on a place’s information page to save the location details for later, which can subsequently be accessed on any device when signed in through what Google terms a "Places to review" list.

Google Maps also improves its transit tools, adding useful information about the next scheduled bus or train as well as displaying the total walking time of a trip. It also now supports opening the Uber app directly from Google Maps, making it easier for users to compare route options.

Apple users also gain the ability to access iOS contacts directly from the app. They can also now tap and hold anywhere on the map to drop a pin, save and share the location with others. Support for searching via Google Voice Search has also been added along with a scale bar for estimating distances on the map.

Google Maps for iOS 3.0 is available now for iPads, iPhones and iPod touches running iOS 6.0 or later. Google Maps for Android 8.0 requires Android 4.1 or later.

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