Imagine the situation. You have been invited to a friend’s flat for drinks and then out for dinner on a Saturday night. You think you can remember how to get to their flat, but it’s not really in an area you know and you’ve only been there once (and you weren’t driving). Before you start cursing that you didn’t buy that a sat nav and that you’re going to spend the whole evening driving down one way streets and round roundabouts, fear not! Many Android smartphones come pre-loaded with Google Maps already integrated into their OS, but if yours doesn’t have it simply go online to the Android App Store and download it for free! Don’t have a smartphone? Save yourself a lot of bother and recycle your mobile phone and invest in a brand spanking new one. Google Maps is easy to use and it’s an A-Z, a GPS sat nav and a route planner all in one. The clear display tells you how far it is to your destination and how long it should take you, with turnings and new instructions shown in bold type to make it easy to read whilst driving. The turn by turn navigation is voice guided so you’ll always know where your next turning is without even having to look at the screen. You can easily pick up a phone holder that sticks onto your window screen for safe use whilst driving and, as if by magic, you have your very own GPS sat nav without actually having to go and buy one!
Google Maps has always been a superior GPS app and the clever people who designed it have taken it a step further with an upgrade that gives you more flexibility and more confidence that you’ll never get lost again! The designers have faced a lot of competition from Apple to deliver a high quality mapping App that competes with their top GPS Apps and Google has not disappointed. With the release of Apple OS system iOS 6 in the autumn we will expect to see Apple’s new Maps app which will feature turn by turn navigation, a quick route button and a flyover feature so Google has clearly understood the importance of keeping well up in the GPS mobile mapping market. The update has just been released this week so it’s brand spanking new. If you have the previous version of Google Maps just download the update from the Android store at Google Play for free and you’ll be on your way.
In the past Google Maps had been criticised by those who don’t driver for its bias towards giving information for roads and car journeys only with little information on other types of travel. This was particularly irritating for people living in cities where most of your travel is done on foot or by public transport. The update now shows public transport options for almost 500 cities around the world so even if you’re on holiday having a city break somewhere you’ll still be able to find your way around without stress. It’s now possible to find departure and arrival times for a number of different modes of public transport including buses, tubes and trains so there’s no longer the need to be switching between different apps for different transport choices. The app still gives you predicted arrival times so it’s easy to be punctual when going on that date or getting to that all important interview. And if you’re in a strange city, or simply looking for something new, Google Maps gives you information about your local area. Say you’re looking for a local restaurant- Google Maps will give you a list and show you how far away from your current location they are, plus how to get there! You’ll even have the phone number and details to make a reservation. Fancy a Chinese? Google Maps allows you to search for specific cuisines and types of restaurant or bar so everyone will be happy. It really couldn’t be simpler, especially as it’s now possible to download maps when you’re online for use offline. This is particularly useful if you are visiting a different country and don’t want to rack up huge data bills. As long as you prepare beforehand, the information is all there for you to use. Google Maps is fully customisable- maps can be view in 2D or 3D design and you can even explore the world from street view so you can pin point exactly where you are and mark down landmarks to look out for! Another new feature is Indoor Maps view where you can pin point your exact location in certain airports, hotels, shopping centres and other locations. Very useful when you’re trying to find a particular store in a huge centre or you need to know where to meet some at Arrivals in a unknown airport.