Thursday, December 13, 2012

Welcoming Google Maps Back to the iPhone

Application: iPhone 3G, 4,4S,5
Function: Turn by turn navigation, search and POI
Cost: $Free
Rating: *****

Many of us remember when Apple made the big move to leave Google Maps out of their iOS 6.0 release.  I along with many users were up in arms over the deletion and protested.  Apple created their own Maps app which got alot of bad press.  Many users reported being taken to the wrong locations and many searches were reported to be inaccurate.  Heads rolled at Apple and they have since been working to improve their native Map App.

Google took their time to redesign their most awesome new Map app and just released it on December 12th for the iPhone.  The iPad release is expected soon.  Even though this is not strictly a marine app, I thought I would let you all know it is now available again and cover some of the new features.  This app will come in handy whether your on land or the water. The powerful Google search features just can't be beat.

The app is invaluable for searching for marinas, restaurants, fuel stations, parts stores, marine stores and grocery stores. 

Features:
  • Search for addresses, businesses and locations around the world
  • Best route and alternate routes
  • Mileage and travel time
  • Public Transit
  • Locate places to eat, drink, shop and play, with ratings and local reviews
  • Sign into Google to sync your searches, directions, and favorite places with your computer
  • Provides voice guided, turn-by-turn driving directions
  • Options for train, bus, subway or walking directions
  • Access live traffic information in many cities around the world
  • View 360-degree panoramas with street view and inside over 100,000 businesses worldwide
  • View high resolution satellite imagery
  • Use gestures to explore the map 
The new Google Maps app was redesigned from the ground up.  It has a great new look with a few new features sprinkled in.

Once you open the app it immediately finds your location and displays the search bar at the top. Simply type in an address, city, location or name of a business and it will instantly list the location along with address, phone number, website and a street view. Options for calling, saving and sharing the locations are listed for your convenience. 

On the top right side of the display are two icons. The People looking icon can be selected to sign into your Google account to save and synch your searches. The Turn arrow icon starts the navigation from you current location.  Select this to choose a destination to where you want to go.

The Arrow icon in the lower left takes you to your present position on the map.  The Three dots tab in the lower right brings up a menu to select real time traffic, public transit, satellite views and Google Earth.

A search for West Marine stores in the Miami area turns up several locations. The search results are listed from closest to farthest. Simply select one to start navigating.  The up and down arrows on the right can be selected to reverse the route.

At this point several routes should be shown with the best route normally highlighted in light blue. If Traffic is turned on the main route will show patches of yellow and red for traffic congestion.

Other alternate routes are highlighted in gray. Tap the gray alternate routes to see the mileage and time of travel.

One of the newest features of the app is voice guided turn by turn navigation.  Once you have selected you destination, you are provided with a pleasant voice giving you directions to your destination.  This new feature is awesome! It allows you to keep your eyes on the road instead of being distracted trying to read what your next turn might be.
 
The app has really become more of a full featured GPS road navigation app that will help you find and guide you to about any destination on the planet.
 
The Google Maps app is speedy, easy to navigate and now it talks to me. How cool is that?  Of course you will need to have cell service for it to work.  If your cruising along the ICW and want to know where the closest restaurant or marina is, just type it in, and your almost there.
 
~~~Sail On~~~ /)
Mark

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff. I'll have to get that. I'm putting an iPad on my boat with some of the apps you review. Thank you for your blogs, because it makes my research that less bothersome. I do wonder though, if this app will be as useful when I'm sailing in Thailand, Sri Lanka, or other exotic locations.

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