Google Maps for Android Gets Biking Directions, Navigation Shortcut, Sharing, and More

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 10:35 AM

[Cross-posted from the Google Mobile Blog]

Starting today, Google Maps for mobile has a few new ways to help you and your friends quickly get to where you’re going whether you’re on 4 wheels or 2 (or maybe even 3). With Google Maps 4.2 for Android you can now get biking directions on the go, start Navigation from your Home screen, share places with friends, and more.

Biking directions
Since launching biking directions on desktop Google Maps, we’ve wanted to get you biking directions, lanes, and trails on your phone too. Just in time for National Bike Month, select the bike icon when getting directions to get an optimal bicycling route in the U.S. If you’re in the mood for a more scenic ride, you’ll also see the Bicycling layer on the map which shows dedicated bike-only trails (dark green), roads with bike lanes (light green), or roads that are good for biking but lack a dedicated lane (dashed green). You can always turn on this layer from the Layers menu to pick your own route. Add in the Labs’ Terrain layer, and you can decide to either climb or avoid that big hill on the way home!


Google Navigation shortcut
If you’re driving instead of riding, we wanted to make it easier and faster for you to get on the road with Google Maps Navigation as soon as you’re ready. With the new Navigation shortcut, you can pick a destination and be on your way with as little as 2 taps of your finger. Select the “Navigation” icon in your phone’s app launcher to get the new destination selection view. Then, speak or type your destination, pick one from your contacts, choose a starred place, or select a recent destination. Navigation will begin and you’re good to go. Make it even easier on yourself by adding the Navigation icon right on your Home screen.


Sharing
Once you figure out where you’re going, why not get some friends to meet you there? From any search results page, choose to “Share this place” to send that place’s info, such as its address and phone number, to whomever you like. If you want to meet someone on a street corner or gather friends at an outdoor concert, you can also send an exact location from the map -- even a snapshot of your current location. Just use the share option after selecting a point on the map, your “My Location” blue dot, or yourself in Latitude if it’s enabled. Whether you’re sharing a place or a location, you’ll be able to send it to small groups via an email or text message or send it widely with apps like Google Buzz, Facebook, or Twitter.

Get these new features by searching for Google Maps in Android Market from Android 1.6+ phones (On your phone now? Tap here). Update Maps to version 4.2, available in all the countries and languages where Maps is currently available. Visit our Help Center to learn more, ask questions in our Help Forum, or give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page.