Google Boosts Android Maps

The 3.3 version of Google Maps for mobile includes more location-based services and the ability to report map problems directly from the phone.

Google continues to improve its mobile mapping service for Android, and the latest version of Google Maps for mobile includes more location-based services.

The 3.3 version of the mapping application makes it easier for users to discover nearby businesses like restaurants, gas stations, movie stations, and other venues. To use this feature, users need to long-press on the map and click on the "What's nearby" button for information on local businesses.

"You can also access this feature from the My Location menu or from address search results," Google said in its Google Maps blog. "When you're meeting friends, it's a great way to find the nearest shops, cafes, or other places to get out of the cold."

The latest version also enables Android users to tap into some of Google's experiments, as it includes a Labs for Google Maps. Similar to its Gmail Labs or Google Labs, this provides multiple new features that may not currently be ready for full-time implementation. So far, this includes the ability to show terrain layers, search for popular categories, toggle between multiple views, and show a scale-bar on the map to determine the distance between locations.

Google Maps for mobile 3.3 also allows users to report problems with the program directly from the handset. This can include a location having a wrong phone number associated with it or a misspelled street name, and users can send a notification to Google with a few clicks. Users can also receive an e-mail to see when the issue is resolved.

The latest version of Google Maps for Android can be downloaded from the Android Market, and it is available for devices with Android 1.6 or higher, including the Motorola Droid, T-Mobile G1, or the myTouch 3G.

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