Google Maps has gotten a big update in 7.2 today on Android. Many features are improved.
Let’s start off with some navigation tweaks. Now when you search for directions to a place and there are multiple routes, you will get Google Now card-like options with a new “Start Navigation” button, which saves a tap and a time overall.
Google has also made a minor tweak to the header while in turn-by-turn mode. They’ve the green color a lighter shade, while making the splitter between the distance amount and current street name.
Google has added hotel rates in Google Maps now. When you tap on a hotel and then the new “book” button, Google will look up prices of staying at the hotel from online services the hotel honors.
The information for places such as restaurants, retail stores, etc. also has a minor update. The hours a business is open is now displayed more prominently right below the category of store it is in bold.
For ratings, Google has added names per the number of stars you choose. 1 star is “Hated it”, 2 stars is “Disliked it”, 3 stars is “It’s okay”, 4 stars is “Liked it”, and finally, 5 stars is “Loved it”. These should help everyone get more accurate ratings for businesses.
The new Google Maps 7.2 requires new permissions, specifically “Read Your Contacts”, “Activity Recognition”, “Receive Data From Internet” and “Prevent Phone From Sleeping”.
Reading your contacts is probably helping you navigate to the homes of friends and family, while preventing the phone from sleeping is probably for navigation.
Receiving data from the internet is probably for things such as updates to the maps or traffic information. We don’t yet know what “Activity Recognition” means, but we’ll let you know if we find out.
Finally, we get to the miscellaneous tweaks. For the different navigation options or services, when you select an option, it will turn blue. That’s good because it makes what you’re selecting more prominent.
The send feedback page is now strictly for sending feedback to Google about changes you want to see or bugs you’ve discovered. Gone is the option for reporting a mapping issue, at least in this menu. It still exists when you tap a specific place, but now it’s less convenient. Let’s hope it gets added back.
The labs string is gone inside of the code, which means maps labs are gone. That’s sad. Labs were always fun to use.
So that’s a lot of new stuff in the 7.2 update. If only Google will bring back “My Maps”. I know of many people that are missing that, including me. Anyway, this update is, as usual, a staged rollout meaning you’ll get the update pushed to your device soon.