The new Google Maps

I’ll preface this by stating that I feel that Google has become increasingly evil, contrary to it’s informal corporate motto of “don’t be evil.” I won’t get into that, but generally speaking I have tried to rely less heavily on their services such as mail, search, APIs, and mobile applications.

I installed Google Maps last night just to see what they have done. Turn by turn navigation is present! Just like what Google said they wouldn’t give iOS but keep to the vest for Android users. Whether you like Apple’s Maps application or not, this is a win for Apple as now Google has delivered turn by turn with voice. A more pleasant voice than Siri.

Tapping the positional icon on the bottom left brings up compass mode – which is awesome. Many times in an area you’re unfamiliar with you need to get your bearings before starting out on a navigational route. This really, really helps start you on your way as the map will swing around based on it’s position to north. Well done and very much welcome.

Vectors. Love it. Apple rolled this out and while Google’s vectors don’t look quite as polished as Apples, you get tons more detail at various zoom levels than you do with Apple’s offering.

Overall the experience is as it should be and what we’d expect with Google in this area of expertise. My only nit so far is that when you open the side panel menu and toggle those options on and off, each toggle performs the function and also closes the menu.

So if you want to toggle traffic and satellite imagery on, it’s going to take you four taps – same as if you could just toggle along and close the menu – but it feels like more work. Perhaps they did this so they wouldn’t need a close button. I imagine it is a little cleaner, it just doesn’t feel quite as smooth if you’re wanting to toggle more than one option at a time.

I’ll give this a go. I do use Telenav GPS but that voice sounds annoying and it talks ALL. THE. TIME. Next trip to someplace unknown or fuzzy, I’ll kick Google Maps’ tires.

I finally figured out street view. Haven’t seen the 3D stuff really yet.

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