Google Maps 6.5 Gets Crisper Maps, Prioritized Transit Modes, and Fresh Look For ICS


Google’s official blog just posted some interesting facts about Google Maps Navigation. So far, it has provided 50 billion kilometers of turn-by-turn directions. To put that in perspective that’s the same as:

  • 31,068,559,611.866 miles
  • 130,000 trips to the moon
  • 334 trips to the sun
  • 10 trips to Neptune
  • 0.005 light years

Yup, that’s a lot of directions. Seemingly in celebration of this milestone, Google has updated Google Maps with some cool new features. Details after the break.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Gets A Fresh Look
Owners of ICS devices get a bonus with this update. Google has redesigned the Navigation home screen. It’s now easier to enter a new destination or select recent and favorite locations. Here’s what it looks like on a Galaxy Nexus:

And here’s what it looks like on my Motorola Xoom:

Very clean and pleasing to the eye, but why only for ICS devices?

Crisper Maps for High Resolution Displays
For any devices that rock a high density display (Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II, Droid Razr, etc.), the maps have gotten crisper by receiving a resolution boost and less cluttered layout. On the left is the old map, on the right is the new. It’s a little hard to see in the screenshots they posted, but notice how the roads are more visible on the right. The color contrast has also been increased, and fewer map labels unclutters the display. Google claims that this cleanup actually improves the reaction time of zooming and panning.

Prioritized Transit Modes
You can now set and prioritize your preferred transit modes (bus, subway, train, tram) and route options (recommended route, fewer transfers, less walking). This is great if you are in one of the 475 cities for which transit directions and schedules are available.

Good update
Overall, this is a nice update, especially if you are running ICS. Download the update from the Play Store link and QR code below. But first, enjoy this video from Google about how important it is to use Google Maps when “getting to your destination matters most.


Play Store Download Link

About the Author: Ed Caggiani

Originally from the East Coast, Ed now makes his home in San Jose, California. His passion for technology started with his first ColecoVision and Atari gaming systems, and has grown stronger through Tandy computers, IBM clones, Palm Pilots, and PocketPCs. Ed's love for Android began with his first HTC Hero, then blossomed with the original Evo 4G, and now the Evo 3D and Motorola Xoom. He graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Communications, and is now a professional User Experience Designer working in Silicon Valley. In his spare time, Ed enjoys video games, jamming on guitar, and spending time with his wife, two cats, and Logitech Revue.