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Google Maps gets improved search, navigation and design features on Android

Zach Miners | July 11, 2013
Google Maps gets an eye-popping makeover for its venerable Web interface as well as bringing improvements to its mobile apps.

Google launched Latitude in 2009 as a way for people to see the approximate locations of friends and others who have shared that information. With the retiring of Latitude, users' lists of friends within that service will be deleted, users won't be able to see or manage their friends, and any existing friends will no longer see people's locations in Google Maps for mobile on Android, the company said in its online help center.

But while location sharing will no longer be possible with Latitude, users can still take certain actions with their location information, such as by sharing their location with friends on Google+ using the Google+ Android app, Google said. The ability to share your location on Google+ on iOS, the company said, will be coming soon.

Google has added a slew of new features to its Google+ social network in recent months as the company strives to make it a stronger competitor to Facebook and Twitter. More than 40 new features were rolled out in May, such as a redesigned social stream, automatic hashtagging and photo-sharing enhancements.

During the company's annual I/O developers conference, Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra reported that "hundreds of millions" of people had joined the service, but the actual number of active users was not specified. Facebook has more than 1 billion monthly active users.

Google is also ditching the offline maps feature for Android, and instead has created a way for people to access maps offline by entering "OK Maps" into the search box when viewing the desired area for later, the company said.

 

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