Late last week, Google updated their Maps application for Android, sending version 4.5 out into the public. The biggest change comes with the introduction of Walking Navigation Beta, which as the name suggests makes guidance easier if you’re walking around instead of driving.
If you live in a big city, this is invaluable as the route suggested for a car is rarely the same as the route you would take on foot, so Google have optimised the software to provide the most sensible, direct route if you select the pedestrian option. To make orientation easier, the image will rotate as you turn around and satellite view is selected as standard.
As with the in-car navigation, Google Maps will talk you through all the directions, or you can choose to have the phone vibrate when a change is needed. This makes sense if you’re visiting somewhere and don’t want to be immediately identified as a tourist, as your phone could be kept concealed until it’s needed.
Furthermore, if you update the Street View app for Google Maps, you can combine the Walking Navigation with it, so you can check-out landmarks before you arrive and move the Pegman around to see different views. A new search bar is the final addition which allows you to add Places to your search and then filter them by distance or ratings.
To take advantage of these new features, you’ll need to be running Android 1.6 or later and update Street View, and Google say they’re available everywhere their smart navigation tool is.