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Top Android App: Google Maps (Labs Update)

Top Android App: Google Maps (Labs Update)
Application: Google Maps
Version: 3.3.1
Size: 2.70MB
Category: Travel
Price: Free
Overall Score: 5/5
User Interface: 5/5
Ease of Use: 5/5
Customizability: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Indispensability: 5/5
I’m giving a short review/tutorial to the newly updated Google Maps so you’ll know how to access the new features on your Android phone.
The newly added Google Maps Labs allows you to access new features that include:
·         Scale bar: Shows a scale bar on the map with distances in meters and feet.
·         Terrain layer: Adds terrain layer to the layers menu.  This layer adds elevation shading to your map.
·         Popular catergories: Shows a list of category searches when you use the search menu button.
·         Layer button: Adds an on-screen button for easy access to layers (don’t need to hit menu first anymore).
·         Compass arrow: Uses the digital compass to indicate the direction you are facing.
These new options can be enabled or disabled depending on what is useful to you.  The addition of Google Maps Lab definitely adds more functionality to the Google Maps app.  I’m also figuring that Google will likely add more useful Labs options to the app in the future.
What I think is the coolest addition to Google Maps is the new “What’s Nearby” option.  In order to access this feature, long press on the map in a location you are interested in.  This could be where you currently are or where you’re going to be.  This will bring a popup window with that location.
Next, click on the window to open more options about that particular location on the map.  You will notice that there is a new option in this drop down menu, “What’s Nearby?”  Selecting this will show you a list of the 10 closest places, including restaurants, shops, and other points of interest.
Choosing one of the items in the list brings up the normal Google Maps options like Show on map, Get directions, Navigate, Call, Street view, etc.
Now you can answer the question of “what’s nearby” and find some new and interesting places to visit/enjoy.  The great thing is, now you can do this on the fly with as little effort as possible.  Android and Google making things easier as always.
I’m sure everyone already has and uses this app pretty much on a daily basis.  For the few of you who do not, here’s the barcode you can scan with Barcode Scanner to take you directly there in the Android Market.

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