Google has rolled out a major update to its mapping service on Android smartphones to add long-overdue elevation info for bikers and voice controls for navigation.
Google, the world's largest internet search company, is improving its mapping service for Android smartphone users. The company is rolling out an update to the Android version of Google Maps, which adds one of the most useful features to the service. The version 8.2 for Google Maps is of most significance for bikers as it shows elevation statistics to help avoid unnecessary uphill climbs. The web giant has also added voice control for navigation.
The addition of elevation info on Maps for Android is a boon for bicyclists as it gives an estimation of the elevation along a route. The graphical representation of the elevation info appears in a timeline view and displays the height in meters. The new feature is still listed as beta in Maps, which means further improvements are in line, according to Android Police. The elevation feature also compares multiple routes so bikers can choose the one with the least climbing or the most, if you prefer.
Google has not left out non-bikers with its update for Maps. A handful of voice commands have been added to the mapping service on Android that can help check for traffic ahead, estimated travel time, next-turn reminders and more.
"We've noticed that the new voice input commands are very sensitive. You have to hit the phrasing exactly or you get nothing," Android Police said in its review of the voice control feature in Android Google Maps. "It's definitely more touchy than the regular Google search voice stuff. It's pretty frustrating in its current state."
The tech blog also put together a video demonstrating the new voice function in Google Maps 8.2 on YouTube.
The update is only limited to the Android version of Google Maps and is slowly being rolled out globally. There is no information on when the update will be rolled out to its iOS counterpart. Since Google follows a close timeframe for updating apps on both platforms, iPhone and iPad users can look out for the new version in the near future.
The update involving elevation statistics for Google Maps originally surfaced in May, when TechCrunch spotted the new feature. But mobile apps were not included in Google's update.