Google Maps for iOS adds iPad support, live traffic updates and indoor navigation
Google unveiled a significant update to Google Maps on Tuesday, finally bringing support for Apple's iPad, while adding enhanced features like indoor walking directions and "Explore," a new interface for browsing shopping, dining and lodging destinations.
Google Maps version 2.0 brings the iOS title more in line with the native Android offering, including indoor mapping and the newly released "Explore" pane. Perhaps the most notable addition, however, is support for the iPad and iPad mini, a highly requested feature since the iOS Maps app moved away from Google's mapping data in iOS 6.
Searching on the iPad brings up information cards with an option to create a route to or from that location. Navigation is handled in much the same way as the iPhone iteration, but the extra space of the iPad's screen affords a persistent view of the map. If a certain query results in multiple routes, the a card stack is displayed that can be expanded to show all available options.
Alongside its new iPad capabilities, Google Maps brings a number of features over from the Android version of the app, like live traffic updates and incident reports and indoor maps with walking directions for shopping malls, airports, and other popular sites. Also included is the new "Explore" feature, which Google defines as "a new way to browse and discover popular local places to eat, drink, shop, play and sleep."
In practice, Explore operates much like other standalone iOS apps, such as Yelp, which use location information to make shopping or dining recommendations. The feature uses a five-star rating system that taps into Zagat's review database, and users can enter their own rating and review in-app. Google Offers is also supported.
Google Maps is a free 11.6MB download from the App Store.