updated 01:00 am EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
Features iOS 7-esque 'Explore' option for business lookup
On Tuesday, Google unveiled its new version of Maps for iOS, just a few days after the revamp's debut on Android. The new version brings long-awaited native iPad and iPad mini support, along with an iOS 7-esque design motif and a new "Explore" option for finding and browsing information on local businesses. In addition to the new interface, the update adds features such as live traffic updates, road incident reports, indoor map (where available) that include walking directions for large spaces (like airports and stadiums).
The "Explore" feature brings together several Google features, such as the option for Picasa pictures of the destination, Street View, transit or other directions, ratings and reviews (and the ability to add one's own) as well as any relevant Google Offers. During a short test of the service, we noticed that a generic listing for "coffee" marked the map with plenty of tiny red dots indicating places to get coffee, which were pleasingly easy to pick out individually on the iPad's large screen -- but only one in a downtown region that actually had a "coffee cup" symbol next to it -- perhaps indicating that the featured spot was an advertiser or had paid for the prominence.
The app will appear as an update if iPad users already have the previous iPhone version on their system, or users can download it directly from the App Store if they don't. The program (free) weighs in at 11.6MB.