Back in May at Google I/O, the folks at Mountain View promised a new version of Google Maps would be hitting this summer, complete with support for the iPad. It's now summer, and it's coming real soon. The new Maps has just hit Android smartphones and tablets, and according to a post on the Official Google Blog, it will be appearing in the App Store very soon:

Today we’re introducing a new Google Maps app for Android smartphones and tablets, also coming soon to iPhone and iPad. It’s a new mapping experience that makes exploring the world and getting to the places that matter to you a lot faster and easier. The app is gradually rolling out globally in Google Play and will be available soon in the App Store.

So, besides proper iPad support, what else do we get? The appearance at least won't change much in the iOS Maps app, since Google has built upon the design they first launched on the iPhone last December. It's our Android using friends that benefit the most on that front. To keep it simple, here's a quick breakdown of the new features:

  • Explore: Visually browse and discover places without typing a single word. Hit the search box and Maps will display cards showing places nearby to eat, drink, shop and local hotels.
  • Enhanced Navigation: Initially only available on Android, but coming in the future to iOS, this uses current traffic conditions and shows reports on incidents that may have occurred on your route. If a better route is available, Maps will let you know and give you the option to switch to that one.
  • Designed for tablets: Proper iPad support!
  • Reviews, Zagat and Offers: Google's 5-point ratings system for bars, cafes, restaurants, along with integrated mobile offers

The new version of Maps will require iOS 6 and above when it hits the App Store, though if you're eager to try it out the best way of snagging it early is to head on over and grab the current version. We're looking forward to taking it for a spin, who else is?

Source: Google

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