An Even Better Way to Find Places Nearby

Monday, July 26, 2010 | 10:35 AM

With six updates in six months, Google Maps for Android has been getting plenty of new features, both big and small. A continued focus with each update has been on giving you better ways to find places nearby. In the most recent updates, Maps has gotten features like swiping between search results and info like photos, reviews, and more helpful content on the result pages. With today’s launch of Google Maps for mobile 4.4, we’re introducing an even easier way to find places around you: a dedicated Places icon that lets you quickly look up nearby places and pick a place to go using updated Place Pages, just like on your computer.

On Android-powered phones with Google Maps 4.4, you’ll find the new Places icon in the app launcher with the rest of your apps. Press and drag it right onto your home screen to use it when you’re looking for a restaurant, shoe store, movie theater or any other type of local business. You'll get a detailed list of all the nearest places and can choose one to learn more about it on its Place Page.



Search for several convenient types of places with the default categories or add your own for your most frequent searches. You can also use the search bar at the top to type or speak any query. I tend to use the “coffee” search a lot, but I’ve also looked for “gas stations” on the road, “ice cream shops” in my neighborhood, and even specific places like “Chelsea Market” on a recent trip to New York.

Of course, you’ll often want to learn more before deciding where to go. With updated Place Pages, you should be able to find all you need to know about a place, whether you’re wandering into a new restaurant or deciding from your couch. In addition to photos and reviews, Place Pages now have a bunch of new details, such as prices, parking and menu links to inform your quest for the perfect steak. You'll also notice that the search results list now highlights business opening hours in addition to compass direction and distance -- consider it your late night caffeine radar.



Google Maps for mobile 4.4 is available now for Android 1.6 and above. Just search for Google Maps in Market or tap here from your phone. The Place Page and search result updates are coming soon for BlackBerry users so keep an eye out for an update at m.google.com/maps (from your BlackBerry Browser) or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Visit our Help Center to learn more, ask questions in our Help Forum, or give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page.

Update: Google Maps for BlackBerry version 4.4 is now available with the new search results view and Place Page details. From your BlackBerry's Browser, go to m.google.com/maps to install it now.

85 comments:

RockMan said...

Very nice :-)
Maps has done giant steps lately ;-)
Just a note... this feature won't work on users with HTC Sense, since they're using their own search widget..
Couldn't you just add this inside the application itself?
Thanks :)

Brian said...

Another nail in the Yelp coffin...

Justin said...

I was wondering why you have been neglecting Palm WebOS with developing maps? WebOS is even more capable than Android is towards these apps, yet you pretend we don't exist! You need to update our google maps to a basic useable state, and beyond that to a level people have come to expect from google.

Mr. Thing said...

I NEED the Google Maps world (Maps/Navigation/Latitude/Google Maps Labs) on iPhone OS 4.0. (I think these apps should be native on the platform.) Actually, it should be on every mobile platform.

Your mapping solution are second-to-none. Allow these features on all -platforms.

Thanks.. :)

RockMan said...

Sorry for first post.. didn't understood how it was working (and anyway, needed to reboot the phone to make the Places icon appear)
Great!

CanyonR said...

Does this replace the functionality of "Places Directory"? I use the Places Directory app all the time to locate the nearest coffee shop or Italian restaurant. I'm glad to see this getting more integrated into the Maps app.

Vincent said...

lol WebOS...welcome to 2009 !!

madcap said...

The "Places" tool gives me distances in Miles. How can I have it display kilometres?

Brian Sutch said...

How do you access Places from Google Maps? How do you search by type of restaurant? This seems much more convoluted than before

ep said...

I don't see places on my Android Sense UI... not listed in the apps tab.

David said...

I have the same question as CanyonR: what's the difference between this and the "Places Directory" that I already had installed? I seem to have both of them now. Can I delete the old "Places Directory?"

RockMan said...

@madcap: i have it in KM... maybe it depends on the phone locale settings...
@ep: as i said before, just reboot ;)

Kurt said...

I don't see the "Places" icon either. (Moto Droid / Verizon)
Under shortcuts I do see "Directions & Navigation" and "Latitude". I do not see the "blue arrow" Navigate or the Places map pin.
Ideas?

Vladimir K said...

It is worth to mention maps is available only for the users in few selected countries. Thus it is not generally available application. For example, I can't see maps in the market, while having Nexus One running 2.2 firmware, just because I am not in US.

tdh said...

Just noticed the Google Maps "LMNOP" when I was moving some icons around on my Nexus One.

Latitude
Maps
Navigation
Open Spot
Places

All part of Maps. Did they do that on purpose?

Gynnerstedt said...

Is there any way I can change the search word for the default icons? I was thinking about the icon for ATM. This is translated to "Minibank" in Swedish which isn't the same as an ATM (which is "Bankomat" in Swedish). It gives me some weird search results because of this

Is there a way to change this or can you include it in a future fix? :)

Thanks for a great app!

David said...

Kurt (and others): the icons you're looking for are in the App Launcher, not in the Maps app itself. In other words, they appear as separate application icons.

F.U.B.U. said...

Ahh! What happen to the directional arrow! I loved that thing!

Dave Kratter said...

I can confirm that in order for the Places icon to be available on HTC Sense UI, a reboot is required.

Bryan said...

The arrow is still there.. just grayed out a bit...

hebertm1 said...

Ouch!!! The brightness. Please give us a way to change the color of the background, or make it black again.

Toni said...

I had to reboot my Tmobile MyTouch 36 for Places to show up my apps list as well.

Johnny B said...

I have the same question others have had about whether this new feature replaces the Places Directory app. I hope that this is addressed. No need to have unnecessary apps installed.

Schultzter said...

Doesn't this violate some patent that Apple recently filed?! I guess the best way to find out is pick a fight and see who comes out on top.

Marcelo Negrini said...

And why the hell I can't access it from iPhone? WRONG!

Pr0fess0rX said...

Hello, Can anyone post a link to an .apk file for version 4.4 because I don't have Market Access.

Rizzah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Rizzah said...

Nevermind. Apparently, it required a reboot. Got it now.

Brad said...

Nice, keep it up Google.

Scott said...

"Gas Station", really? The rest of the world call them "Petrol Stations" at least let us delete the useless US-centric searches that you include.

John said...

Ouch !!! Works great on my Sense phone, but now I cannot call a place from maps? What is going on. Verizon Incredible....

Mr. Harris said...

Indifferent to the white background. Functionally, this makes me feel smarter. I will be deleting the places directory app. Combine this with the nice touches in the lab and you have the best means to find any place you are looking for. Runs great on froyo. Keep up the good work G Maps.

Simon said...

Looks nice, but this is unusable - I can no longer call from within the Maps app. Verizon Droid Incredible.

Paul said...

Also can not call from within the Maps app. Is this a bug or intentional??? Luckily the labs "bubble button" saves the day. MT3gSlide

Popville said...

I also had to reboot after upgrading Maps to see Places. phone: HTC Incredible

Allisa said...

Nice! Google has got even better now..new more very helpful features. Good job guys! :)

-Allisa Alloju
http://www.facebook.com/AllisaAlloju

fork0 said...

Typical crapware. No way to remove (or just move elsewhere) the predefined searches, no way to filter out the advertisement out of search results and no way to remove the thing from app drawer (unless ones uses something like Launcher Pro's "Hidden Apps" feature).

Sydney said...

Is there a way I can uninstall the Places and Latitude apps? I will not use either of them, and they are just cluttering up my tray.

Would not have updated if I really knew what I was getting.

Caleb Woodbridge said...

I've got the same problem that the "Call" button is greyed out on business listings on my T-Mobile Pulse running Android 2.1. Annoying!

Dawid said...

Great, but please change the background color back to black (as it was before). It was looking great on a samsung galaxy s and its SAMOLED-Display...not mentioning the better powersaving with dark background on that sort of AMOLED-Displays...

If you could add an option to set the background color to white/black (so everyone is satisfied), it would be great.


Thank you in advance!

John said...

the search for ATMs does not works in the UK - I get lots of matches on ARMS (pubs). ATM works OK - so how can I change the search string?

Spanishgringo said...

Why is traffic info available on Maps for Android in Barcelona, but not on the desktop or any other device?

Roberto said...

Thanks guys, you ruined the project that I was developing for the Android Market after one month of work ;-)

Obsidianrock said...

What about iPhone? BooHoo :o(

Patrick_R said...

Just to Confirm:

1) IT NEEDS A REBOOT FIRST ON HTC SENSE BASED DEVICES SUCH AS THE DESIRE...

2) WE NEED AN option TO CHOOSE BETWEEN BLACK OR WHITE BACKGROUND, NOW THAT YOU HAVE CHANGED TO WHITE. This will kill the battery, and doesn't fit in with every single other application on my Desire...

Stela James said...

its a great features provided by google i never knew that.
home businss

Lord_Phoenix said...

Damn, it's so cool and so annoying that you cannot update Maps on HTC phones, I hate HTC for that... >:(

Ethan said...

The call button is now grayed out on the Droid Incredible. I rebooted the phone following the upgrade.

Jenna said...

Very nice app, but it is unfortunately limited to the Android platform. I used the geolocation feature at http://www.unitymobile.com to stay close to my customers, it publishes to all platforms and devices (Symbian, Windows, BlackBerry, Android, iPhone).

Jeff said...

I verified on two HTC Droid Incredible phones that the call button is always greyed out, even though the number is listed right under the name of the place. This used to work with the previous version's search results.

Pete Dragon said...

Maybe this is a dumb question but how can I use places to find something where I'm going to be later? I see no way to change the location other than going there. Searching for a location (like an address) takes you to map search. I'd like a menu item "set location" or better yet, allows me to got to the map and tap a location.

John said...

It's great to see mobile devices getting great functionality. Now, PLEASE focus a fraction of your attention on updating Google Maps for Palm webOS. Maps on webOS has been horribly slow and hard to use for a long time. Third-party webOS solutions using your API are showing that speed and features are easy enough to add but the Google branded app really ought to have basic usable functionality.

Jacopo Gio said...

Hi, I am with 2.1 and I have not the ADD button :-/ That could be useful as I could cretate new spots and why not choose among categories or sub categories like:

- night shops
- night clubs
- sport facilities
- museums
- food shop
- antique

Well, a Foursquare/Gowalla sort of ;-)

Douglas said...

I second the motion to bring back the black background, at least as an option. It was so much more professional looking, but was also much easier to read and less offensive to people in dark environments. The white version is garish and grating by comparison.

Henrique said...

Yet another gMaps update and still no Navigation support for Brazil. :( Please add it asap! Thanks.

Jon said...

The call button is greyed out in places for me too. Please fix! Running on HTC Desire on T-Mobile in UK.

DJC said...

@madcap @Rockman I have the same problem. Launching via the Places shortcut only gives me distances in Miles, but launching via Places Directory gives me distances correctly in km.

Brian P Robinson said...

How about a few dedicated buttons in the Navigation entry point of the Google Maps App? It could really use a Home, Work, and possibly School button visible in the Navigation feature.

As much as I use Google Maps Navigation, I can't tell you how useful it would be to be able to hit a Home/Work/School icon that would save all respective addresses in order to get immediate navigation directions to those locations. After all, after I use Google Maps to go somewhere new on a trip, I always need it's help to get me back home. Why should I have to manually put in my home/work/school address every time to get back home?

Also, how about adding a Favorites entry point into the app launcher as well? I know there's already the separate Places Directory app, but it's really super glitchy. The last two times I've updated it, it's deleted all the favorite places that I saved. I literally had to re-build my favorites directory from scratch after I updated to Froyo and updated the app. And then, after updating the app again and spending a good 30-45 minutes re-building my favorites directory, almost all my favorite places were deleted again. It's extremely frustrating and it just makes more sense being able to use my Google Maps favorites anyways (I know that the Places Directory app is supposed to sync favorites with Google Maps, but as of the last two updates, I still have yet to see it work). This could be done in a separate entry point app, or easily incorporated into the Places entry point app.

Just two suggestions for an already kick-ass app. Thanks guys, you rock!

Device: Google HTC Nexus One
Carrier: T-Mobile
Country/Language: USA/English
OS/Browser/build number (if applicable): Android 2.2 Froyo FRF91

Jamie said...

Distances in miles only? Fail. Most of the world uses metric, guys. C'mon.

At least make it configurable.

changyi said...

When do we get Android 2.2 for Optus's Samsung Galaxy S???????

David said...

hmm searched (28.7.2010 9am UTC) app market for "google maps" nothing... clicked on article link to get it on my samsung galaxy s and got not found 404

DiSCo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

DiSCo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Maff Mace said...

useless!
I click on "atms" and all it finds is a company in the city next to mine called atms
Doesn't find any cash machines (I know of 4 within 100 metres of me)

James Colyer said...

I've got Maps 4.4.0 installed on my HTC incredible, but no "Places" application is visible in my apps menu.

coxie said...

great stuff google most useful.

Technician said...

"useless!
I click on "atms" and all it finds is a company in the city next to mine called atms
Doesn't find any cash machines (I know of 4 within 100 metres of me)"

Same did they not check it? I can not see me ever looking for somebody to fix an ATM.

I also hate ads I do not mind paying for an application but ads are pathetic.

Tammy said...

Its really Great to see this site.Give us more interesting and informative stuff.keep doing work like this for the further also..Thanks Buddy.


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Botogol said...

I wish you would make clear in your posts what countries new products are available in

Mikkel Kjær said...

As many others, my call button is not pressable. Which I don't quite understand. Because, when I go for more information, the number is there on the place information on google in the browser. So Google has the information, apparently!

Ryan said...

Very nice - thank you for all of the feature adds. It keeps me loving my android device!

There was a comment earlier about this feature not being available on HTC Sense, but I have a device with HTC Sense UI and have had no problems using it.

boB said...

ARRRGH!!! CHANGE THE BACKGROUND BACK TO BLACK!..or at least make it an option (unistalled update until then).

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KevinX said...

Can't find any "Places" icon on my HTC Desire, having downloaded Maps 4.4.
It doesn't exist in the Maps, so had a look through my Apps, but nothing there either..
is there a problem, or does this not work on the HTC Desire??
Thanks

Tech Savvy Realtor said...

I have a sinking feeling that I will not be joining this party because I have a Backflip :(

It is not showing up in the marketplace nor can I find any kind of website for a direct install

Frank said...

waardeloos, alhoewel er een bankautomaat op 500m is, wordt de dichtste op 15km gegeven! Met benzinestations al niet veel beter :-(

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Eddie Q. said...

Too bad it keeps crashing on me when I want to use it. Samsung Moment 2.1.

captainLAGER said...

Google Maps 4.4's local search is a joke: Nearest ATM? 65 kilometers. Nearest "Attraction"? There are none in Germany. They should seriously fix this. Or give us the option to reconfigure the default search buttons.

Khairulyadi said...

I am loyal fan Google map and I am using it heavily on my Blackberry 9700. I always want to know if there is a way to create a local short cut to pull up a map location. Currently I have figure out by opening the apps and place a web address of kmz file. it will load up a custom place map info.

I just want to know if I can make a local icon short to load up the map and complete with the custom coordinate set up.

TQ

Adrian said...

I much prefer the old "Places Directory" to the new "Places" app.

I too would prefer the black background -- but this is a minor gripe for me...

The old layout also seemed to work better (for my needs at least)

And even though I'd assume both apps use the same back end database, in my experience with the two the results in the OLD version are sorted better for relevance and also didn't have duplicate entries (which I always find in the new version)

I'm not sure why this is -- or if it happens with anyone else though...

I'll be keeping the old "Places Directory" and will be looking for a way to hide the new "Places" icon from the drawer -- for now at least...

Del said...

I'm using Google Maps (and Latitude) on a BlackBerry Curve. Neat, but I also like to do some geohashing (see http://wiki.xkcd.com/geohashing/Main_Page) so I'd like to have a way to enter my destination as a Lat/Lon coordinate. And better, I'd like the resultant directions to magically grok that at some point I'll likely have to go on foot to get to the precise (within a few meters) location.

Thoughts?

Dana and Tammy said...

I too am frustrated by the Call option not working in my Droid Incredible. Also, when I click on the Navigate button it automatically goes to "driving directions." I couldn't find a way to change to "walking directions."