Google is trying to make it easier for Android customers to use Google Maps on the go, and it has added multiple new features including voice-search capabilities.
One of the most appealing features of Android's Google Maps is the ability to search maps with speech queries. The process and the technology are similar to the voice-search capabilities of Google's mobile search application for the iPhone and Android, and Google said it can understand English in American, Australian, and British accents.
"Whether you're searching for an address, a business, or nearby windsurfing sports, just speak your query and Google Maps will find it," Google wrote on its mobile blog. "After your search, you'll see a map of places. To help you decide where to go, we've improved our business listings to include content such as store hours, prices, ratings, and reviews."
The search giant has also given walking and public-transit directions to Android's version of Google Maps, which puts it on par with the versions available for competing platforms like BlackBerry and iPhone. Google has also updated its Latitude location-sharing service to fix some bugs and integrate some social-networking features.
The company fixed a glitch that caused background location updates to stop for some, and the user's phone will continue to update as long as the phone is on. Latitude users can now also send messages to friends through the service when they're at interesting locations.
Unlike other Android upgrades, the new Google Maps features won't be automatically pushed out over the air. Users wanting the voice-search capabilities and the new Latitude features need to download the latest version of Google Maps from the Android Market.
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