Another update, Google released today, is Google Maps Mobile for Android. Now available as Google Maps Mobile 4.5, Maps already had Navigation and walking directions, and with today's launch, Google Maps Mobile gets the - according to Google - perfect marriage of the two as Walking Navigation (Beta). Walking Navigation uses GPS navigation with walking directions that are more direct and use pedestrian pathways when Google knows about them. Walking Navigation has a few changes that helps the user if he's on the feet. For example, the phone will vibrate when a turn is needed and users can even turn off voice guidance and just use these notifications while soaking in the sights and sounds around.
To help orient with surroundings, the map will rotate with the user as he's turning the phone, and walking mode uses satellite view by default. It can be used like a virtual compass with satellite imagery to look ahead or help pick out landmarks along the way.
Keep in mind that Walking Navigation is still in Beta (as most Google services) and Google Maps may not always have up-to-date information or optimal walking routes.
Another new feature of Google Maps Mobile 4.5 is Street View smart navigation which gives users a sneak preview of where a user is going. It allows to use the new Street View on Google Maps with smart navigation and updated imagery. Just like with Street View smart navigation on a computer, users no longer have to slowly move down a street by tapping arrows along roads repeatedly. Now it's possible to quickly navigate Street View by dragging Pegman from the corner and highlighting where to go with a lightly shaded "pancake" on roads or a rectangle on buildings.
Last but not least, Google introduced a new Google Maps search bar at the top of the map which is always available for easy access. It can be used to start searches, open Places, use the Layers menu or find yourself on the map with My Location.
Google Maps Mobile 4.5 and Street View smart navigation are now available for smartphones, running Android 1.6 or higher. In addition to Google Maps Mobile, Street View on Google Maps is a separate download and not available as a simple update.
Cheers ~ Arne