Sep 09 AT 4:36 PM Taylor Wimberly 11 Comments

Google Maps gets Walking Navigation, enhanced search

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?

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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  • http://Website Todd

    “What is your favorite new feature?”

    Pegman in Street View is UI/UX win.

    …now I can use compass mode less, stopping looking like a crazy person as I whirl around in circle holding my phone up.

  • http://Website sgb101

    Dissented with the walking nav, just testing it on short walks close to home and every route just follows the same as the road route.

    Maybe when gmaps matures a bit, will I see an improvement.

  • http://Website Woot!

    YES!!! Finally!!!

  • http://Website lucasara

    I lost the “weather” setting in the maps live wallpaper with this update, which didn’t show any weather but the map was brighter. Now the only settings it has are “show traffic” and “map mode”… sigh

    Welcome additions, anyway.

  • http://Website Caleb

    Yuck! I was excited, but when I tried it, I found that it uses the accelerometer to tilt the view — like Earth or StreetView — except when I’m walking, to get the view I want, I have to wave the phone around like an idiot! I’d rather it just stayed still, or were controllable on the touchscreen. Even worse, it uses the compass to aim the view. Not only are smartphone compasses notoriously unreliable, but I rarely actually hold my phone straight ahead of me. It’s generally tilted to the side a bit when I’m walking. So, it aims in the wrong direction, and tilts confusingly. Not fun :-/ Simpler is better!

  • E-man

    I can’t get to the peg man. Why?!

    • http://Website Caleb

      Same here! Droid 1 running stock 2.2. Hmm…

    • Dtown

      Same here also, Nexus One 2.2

      • http://Website Zeak

        Same here, Desire 2.2

        • http://Website Thomas

          Not only you have to download Maps, you also have to install Street View from the market.
          Worked for me.

  • http://Website Hector in PA

    I’d like to know when Google Navigator is going to let us delete previous destinations. The only current way is to uninstall the app then reinstall it. That’s very tedious and by now, the “beta” should be corrected. Just saying.