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Google Maps for Android Learns Some Cool New Tricks

by Jacob Kleinman | July 18, 2014July 18, 2014 9:30 am PST

Google Maps is already one the most useful apps out there, but today it’s getting a major update that should make it even easier to use. Spotted by Android Police, the new features include extra details and options for biking,  as well as voice controls in navigation mode.

The biggest part of the update is all about bicycles. Google Maps has offered solid biking directions for a while, but now the company’s offering even more details. Ask for directions and Google will show you the elevation for each possible route, offering the ability to avoid an uphill ride when possible. The new feature is still listed as beta, but it looks pretty reliable.

Meanwhile, if you regularly use Google’s turn-by-turn navigation the company has added a handful of voice commands. Specifically, you can ask your phone “What’s my next turn?” or “How long until I arrive” and get a quick response. You can also call up traffic information (“How’s traffic ahead?”) or mute directions with a voice command, though Android Police notes those controls can be tricky to use if you don’t get the phrasing just right.

The Google Maps update should be rolling out today, but you can also grab it now courtesy of Android Police. Just hit the source link and scroll down to the bottom of the page to download the APK and push a manual upgrade.

Android Police

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...