Friday, November 21, 2008
(Cross-posted from the Google Mobile Blog)
I waited in line on launch day to buy my first-generation iPhone, and ever since then it has never left my side. The best part is that it keeps getting more useful with every software upgrade Apple puts out. This time around, Apple has improved their version of Google Maps by putting even more Google features in your pocket.
The most eye-catching one is Street View: Apple's silky-smooth implementation makes it a joy to pan around the world. You might wonder why you'd want to look at panoramas of the world while you're already out in it, but I've found it handy for getting an idea of what to look for when going somewhere new. In somewhere like New York, it's also a great way to get your bearings when you pop out of a subway station in an unfamiliar part of town.
Speaking of subways, my favorite new feature is the addition of Google Transit and walking directions. In a time of congested roads and fluctuating gas prices, driving isn't always the best way to get from A to B, so why limit your options? Now when you get directions, you can switch between driving, walking, and public transportation directions (where available) with a single tap.
Google Maps has schedules for transportation systems in more than 100 cities worldwide, including New York, Tokyo, Montréal, Zürich, and Perth — and now it's easy to get that information on your iPhone. As more transportation agencies decide to share their schedule information, their routes will be available on the iPhone the instant they appear in Google Maps on the web.
Finally, in the latest version of Google Maps for iPhone, you can email information about a location to your friends, which can be a great help when coordinating a get-together.
To get these new Maps features on your iPhone, you'll need to update your phone's software through iTunes. I hope you'll find these new additions as useful as I have. And don't forget that even if you don't have an iPhone, Google Maps for mobile is available for many other kinds of phones, including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian Series 60, and Android — visit www.google.com/gmm for more details.
by Joe Hughes, Mobile Maps Software Engineer