Google Maps for Android: Speak and Ye Shall Find


transit-androidIt’s about to get a whole lot noisier in the real “land of the lost.” Google (s GOOG) just outed a Maps update for Android handset owners, and one of the new features is voice search. Unlike prior updates, this one won’t be pushed out over-the-air. Instead, you’ll need to hit up the Android Marketplace and download it. Once you do, you’ll have not only the voice search, but some other digital cartography goodies as well.

You should see better business listings in your searches. Regardless if you speak or type what you’re looking for, Google Maps for Android will provide store hours, ratings and reviews. Public transit directions and walking directions are also included for over 250 cities with the new version. I’m still not sure why “walking directions” are needed; for years, I’ve simply alternated my steps between the left and right leg. That strategy has worked fine for me long before the age of smartphones.

Google fixed some issues with its Latitude service as well. Apparently, the background service was stopping on occasion. No, all those rumors of your Android friends magically teleporting from one location to another simply weren’t true. Download the new version, and you’ll understand.

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