Google Maps for Android adds 'transit navigation'

1:18:00 AM

Google Maps for Android adds 'transit navigation'
07/07/2011 | 11:12 PM

Users of Google's Android devices who take the train can now get more help navigating through transit with the search giant's new Google Maps 5.7 for Android.

Google said that the "Transit Navigation" feature, presently in beta, has updated access to directions, better suggested search results and a photo viewer to Place pages.

"All of (these) can help you whether you’re traveling to an unfamiliar part of town or visiting a city across the world," software engineer Chris Van Der Westhuizen said in a blog post.

Van Der Westhuizen said Google Maps Navigation (Beta) currently provides over 12 billion miles of GPS-guided driving and walking directions per year.

Now, he said GPS "stop-by-stop" navigation is available for public transit directions in more than 400 cities worldwide with Transit Navigation.

Transit Navigation uses GPS to determine one's current location along your route and alerts one when it’s time to get off or make a transfer.

"This is particularly helpful if you’re in a city where you don’t speak the language and can’t read the route maps or understand the announcements. After starting your trip with Transit Navigation, you can open another application or put your phone away entirely and Google Maps will still display an alert in your notification bar and vibrate your phone when your stop is coming up," Van Der Westhuizen said.

Google pointed out navigation alerts appear even if the user switches to another app.

"Now you can spend more time enjoying the sights out the window and less time worrying about how many stops are left, where you are along the route or whether you missed your stop," he said.

But he pointed out that since Transit Navigation relies on GPS signals, "we recommend using this feature for above-ground transit."

Also, Google said selecting the driving or walking icon in a route supported by Google Maps Navigation will let a Navigation icon automatically appear so one can get access to step-by-step directions in one click.

But it said this change is currently only in place for driving and walking and does not appear for public transit.

Van Der Westhuizen said Google has also streamlined how to access directions from within a Place page.

Before, clicking directions in a Place page would bring up options for “Driving Navigation," “Walking Navigation" and “Directions."

Now, he said one will be taken straight to the map and see the new directions box.

Google also improved the quality and speed of its search suggestions.

It added category icons, so instead of all search suggestions displaying the same icon, the icon next to the listing will reflect the type of result.

"You’ll see a pin for a Google Places listing, a star for a starred Place or location, a clock for a previously used search term, a person for contacts and a magnifying glass for 'anything else,'" Van Der Westhuizen said.

Also, any place one got directions to or called directly from its Places page will be included as a suggestion for a relevant search.

Google also features a photo viewer for Place pages.

Google said the update requires an Android OS 2.1+ device and works anywhere Google Maps is currently available. — Source: TJD, GMA News

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