Google Maps for Android trumps iPhone, again

A new version of Google Maps Navigation for Android is out and it really makes Maps for iPhone looking kind of anemic by comparison.

google-maps-3.3.1-market-updateTonight I received the Android 2.0.1 update (over-the-air, mind you) on my Droid and was pleasantly surprised to notice that an update for the Google Maps app was waiting for me in the Android Market.

Release about a week ago, the latest version of Google Maps for Android (v.3.3.1) includes much more than the version number lets on.

Google Maps for Android leapfrogged the iPhone version in October 2009 with the release of Android 2.0 for the Verizon/Motorola Droid. The new version, Google Maps Navigation, includes free turn-by-turn GPS navigation with voice guidance. Plus all the benefits of being connected to the Internet, including live traffic layers and up-to-date local business data.

Google Maps Navigation 3.3.1 takes another leap forward with more new and experimental Labs features that "aren't ready for prime time," including:

  • A compass arrow which turns the blue My Location dot into a compass arrow pointing the direction you’re facing
  • A scale bar on the map, showing approximate distances
  • Layer button (with layers for Traffic, Satellite, Latitude, and Transit)
  • A terrain layer
  • Popular Categories, which displays a browsable list of category searches

If you're not convinced, check out this video of Google Maps Navigation in action and see how far it's come. It really makes Maps for iPhone looking kind of anemic by comparison.

Screenshot: These Are The Droids

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