Google Maps for mobile was updated to version 4.5 today which added several cool features including Walking Navigation (Beta), Street View smart navigation, and a new search bar. Like all previous versions of Google Maps 4.x, this update requires Android 1.6+ (sorry CLIQ owners).
Walking Navigation is one feature I have been wanting the most. I travel a lot and I often find myself in unfamiliar places so I normally rely on Google Maps pretty heavily, but their previous walking instructions were not always the most helpful. The new Walking Navigation is great because it gives a 3D view of the satellite map that auto-rotates as turn around. It works brilliantly and I can tell it’s going to get a lot of heavy use on my phone.
Street View smart navigation allows you to quickly jump around the map by dragging your finger to the location of your choice. No longer are you required to move down a street by tapping the arrows along roads over and over.
Finally, Google has added a new search bar that sites on top of the map. There are shortcuts to jump to Places, toggle layers, and jump to your location. I particularly like the Places shortcut so I don’t have to jump back to the home screen and open it that way. Search results got an upgrade as well, since you can now filter results by star rating and distance.
If you got an Android phone, give Google Maps 4.5 a spin (warning: be safe) and let us know how it performs. What is your favorite new feature?