Mar 17 AT 7:21 PM Taylor Wimberly 34 Comments

Hands on new Google Maps 4.1 for Android

Thanks to my new favorite program AppAware, I just saw Google pushed out a new version of Maps. Now at version 4.1, the new Google Maps for Android has added several key features that make searching easier. Since Android 1.6 is required, I’ve taken some quick notes and screens to share the details (for all those Anroid 1.5 users).

New features include:

  • Updated search results page: The detailed search page got a major face life. New buttons have been added for map view, navigate, call, and street view. The reviews area has a slick looking colored chart to display star ratings and you can easily buzz about any place.
  • Swipe for more results: The tabs are now gone from the search results page and users can easily swipe between places. The scrolling is super smooth on my N1 and it has a nice feel as results snap over.
  • Latitude widget and Maps live wallpaper: I guess this is more eye candy than usefulness. The new Maps live wallpaper allows you to view live traffic on your homescreen. The Latitude widget shows updates for friends around your location.
  • Switch Google Accounts: Android 2.0 added support for multiple accounts and now you can switch them from within maps. This allows you to easily manage multiple identities.
  • Dark Map for Buzz: A new layer that darkens the map and makes buzz posts glow red.
  • More Ads: I don’t know if this is a new “feature” or not, but I am noticing a ton of new sponsored ads through out Google Maps when I perform a search. I think this started around version 3.4, but they definitely have more advertisers signed up now.

When you get done playing with the new Google Maps, please drop a comment and let us know what you think.

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Source: Google Mobile Blog

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • anakin78z

    The live wallpaper is cool, but I don’t commute that much, so it got replaced again after 5 minutes. The widget only picked up one of my latitude friends, for some reason. I didn’t really see a need for it either.
    The new information page is nice though. Looks slick, and is easy to use.

  • http://Website JimK

    Hmm. Every starred location in my account was just deleted after this update. NOT COOL, GOOGLE.

  • http://Website joehom

    I cant get this app from my store….>.<

    • LoveToText

      Its an update, you should already have it on your android device.

  • http://Website gregs

    but no bicycling layer….

  • Dylan Andersen


  • Dylan Andersen

    How do we uhh.. zoom out? On the livewallpaper. GG

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Keep double tapping :)

      actually, maybe not….

      It just worked for me and now I’m stuck with the magnifying glass and no maps

      • Taylor Wimberly

        Figured it out. Double tap to zoom in and you reverse pinch to zoom out. Make sure you do it in a quick motion and not slow.

  • http://Website jeff uberstine

    i want them to just get rid of google earth, integrate it with google maps, and make the navigation use google earth, so it can fly you through your route as you drive, that would be much better :)

  • http://Website Jon

    Ummm…the update keeps force closing on my droid…wtf?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I’ve had some app updates go bad in the past. Try to uninstall it and then download it from the Market again.

      • http://Website Jon

        THANKS, dont know why i didnt think of that before

  • http://Website Axess Denyd

    I’m a bit disappointed that it doesn’t have bike directions. I plan to use those a lot in the future.

    Also, I am not sure I approve of the interface changes…..seems like the buttons are rather small and unlabelled when you pick an address and it asks ou what to do with it. I hate unlabelled buttons.

  • Mike

    Dear Google,

    Get your ADS out of my APP. I bought the phone. I should not spend my precious RAM, Clock Cycles, and UI real estate avoiding your ads. Add an opt-out, maybe a pay option, something. This has gone from annoying in 3.4 to interfering with my experience in 4.1.

    If I am using your mobile search website, then show me ads. I deserve it. I understand you need to get paid. But this app, that came with this phone, (that I bought and paid for) was a pakcage deal. I bought it. PAID for it. Nothing ever said it was Beta, temporary, testing, trial version.

    Get your ADS out my APP. This is the kind of thing that has potential to drive Android away from it’s bread and butter, early adopting, jumping-off-the-deep-end-with-you-for-the-sake-of-open-source-innovation-geeks.

    That is all.

    Frustrated (but hopeful) Android Geek

    • skeltonmedia

      Google makes all it’s money off ads. It’s been this way forever. Same experience with google apps online! Makes sense to use the same ads on Android. Why do you think Goole can afford to update our apps so frequently and give us free features all the time? It’s not because it’s apps cost money. CLICKS = REVENUE.

      I don’t mind ads because they are a great way to keep the Android community profitable and growing with new developers jumping on board each day who are willing to develop great apps for the community. Even though ads might take up a little space here and there, it’s good to know that there is revenue to be made with Android. REVENUE = GROWTH & GROWTH = DOMINATION.

      Just my opinion :)

      • http://Website Terrell

        ^ Agreed. I don’t really mind the ads at all knowing that it’s generating some kind of revenue for the company that we have become loyal to. I have never been bothered by an ad in any version of any app i’ve used. Sure it takes up a little bit of screen space, but is it really that life threatening or troublesome?


        • http://Website Derek

          While I semi-agree with this if using google search, But I just spent $529 on a phone. Dont give me a ton of ads in an app that is included with the phone. If I go and download a free ap then fine, give me ads, but dont junk up my included app with ads. Or at least give me the option to pay a few bucks to get rid of them (really this should be a last resort, because I just spent 529 FREAKING DOLLARS ON THIS PHONE!!!! There’s google’s revenue!!).

          • http://Website J. Mc

            Dude, you just spent $529 on the phone.
            You spent exactly $0 on the operating system and the applications.

            Google thanks you for the support of buying $189 worth of hardware for $529. Sergey and Larry need that money to buy new rollerblades.

            However, they’re still going to give you ads in the apps that you’ve never paid a dime for.

    • http://Website No One

      I agree! No ads should be on a built-in software on the phone!

      I understand that developers (even Google) make their money from ads. And Google can serve me all the ads it wants on my PC, I’ve got 22″ of screen space, I’m not out somewhere trying to find someplace, and I can choose to use another web site if I want.

      HOWEVER, the Google Maps app is a core feature of the Android phone. It’s not something that I add-ed on, it’s not something that can be removed, and as far as I can tell, there’s no other Map apps that could be installed as a replacement for it. This is a core functionality of this device, and as an end user, I have no control over it.

      And I agree with Derek. I just spent a lot of money on this device, AND I’M PAYING A MONTHLY CONTRACT FEE to use this device and the core services that come with it.

      Would you buy an Android phone that had NO MAP app available? Then I guess Google Maps is a selling feature of their system! If Google can’t get enough money in their licensing deal with Phone makers/carriers, for a core functionality of their phones, then that’s their fault.

      Or how about this: install no map app by default, and allow the end user to decide on a free/ad or PAID version w/no ads. How hard is that? Let me CHOOSE whether to pay less (and receive ads), or pay more and have no annoying ads taking up space on my tiny 3″ phone screen.

  • Rob Field

    I’m using 2.0x on Droid, and I get pinch-to-zoom with the new Google Maps.

    • http://Website JimK

      Oh yeah, look at that. Nice. Definitely useful and we didn’t have to wait for the 2.1 OTA to get it.

  • http://Website Drew

    DarkBuzz is an interesting concept but little annoying because it loses functionality: no special icon for pictures like on the regular buzz layer.

    They added a tiny warning on posting buzzes (“publically to the web”) and seem to have taken off the restriction on uploaded photos (they now don’t seem to need cropping any longer). I am also noticing that Buzzing simply fails to work on certain locations, notably at some schools. You still can’t pick “city level” for your location, though you can now change this on a user to user basis for latitude, which is cool (not so cool? that virtually no one I know uses latitude, doh)

    I still want to see more options for the buzz layer. The map view is by far the neatest way to interact with buzz: taking photos, annotating locations, etc. It just needs things like delete/edit of your buzzes, easier links to people’s buzz feeds from their pictures and perhaps the ability to go private. Even lacking all sorts of functionality, it is still FAR better than the mobile Buzz client.

  • http://Website Gregory

    Epic fail! All of these updates and still NO SD cache? CoPilot and IGO MYway cost money but are ultimately better.

  • http://Website David

    After update it keeps foreclosing every time I need to use the map.

  • http://Website soundwave123

    Guys the bicycling directions is not integrated yet because its in beta and the team is not confident on making a reliable app for android integration. They are still getting tons of emails about new bike paths and ones that aren’t real bike paths so the notion of you being upset or disappointed for it not being integrated yet makes me sad.

    Just think about Toyota when you talk about something that’s going to get you from point A to point B and rushing it out to the public without proper testing. I think Toyota would agree with me that if somethings not ready… its just not ready.

  • stalker

    wow.. nice apps.. I will update it.

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  • http://Website charles

    No pinch any more after this update! On HTC legend; anyone know how to revert the update?

    • http://Website eris

      go to market>my downloads, find maps, tap “uninstall update,” wait ’til it finishes, tap “install update”

      • http://Website Charles

        No luck… still no pinch

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