Google has started to roll out Google Maps for Android 8.2, focussing its attention of cyclists with the addition of some handy new features.
The app also introduces voice control for vehicle navigation, effectively turning the user’s Android mobile or tablet into a GPS navigation system.
When cyclists opt to use Google Maps for navigational purposes, the app will now provide an estimate of elevation along each part of the route, using a line chart to indicate the elevation at the start and end points of the chosen route, complete with elevation changes throughout it.
The feature will prove especially beneficial to those looking for ways to avoid steep uphill climbs, although as yet there’s no way to specify this as an option when looking for alternatives.
Version 8.2 also adds voice commands for the vehicle navigation route. Users can now tap the new mic button in the navigation interface to control Google Maps, with available commands including asking for directions, checking traffic along the route and bringing up a list of alternative routes.
Early feedback suggests the voice recognition is still quite fuzzy, so try to be as precise as possible when issuing commands.
Other changes include a new Your Places shortcut in the main Google Maps menu (swipe right from the left-hand edge of the screen to access), which provides a convenient shortcut to previously saved and recently accessed searches.
The update, which should roll out across most devices over the next few days, was preceded a week ago by Google Maps for iOS 3.2.0. That provided improvements to viewing search results on a map, plus added the ability to view reservations and events from Gmail on the map. It also saw the Explore local guide feature make its bow.