For the search, directions, and mapping history to work, you need to be signed in to Google Maps. The feature, which is enabled by default, starts working immediately when you start to type into the search box: you’ll see suggestions for directions and locations that you’ve previously searched for. You can also see your history directly on your Android phone by going to the “Search” or “Directions” tabs under My Places.
The update was first announced this morning over at The New York Times. The new version went live, however, just a few minutes ago this evening. Here’s an excerpt worth quoting:
Google Maps will sync across devices. Say you are making lunch plans in the morning and you search for a restaurant on your desktop computer. Later, as you are walking to the restaurant, you pull out your phone to look up its location on Google Maps. If you were logged in to Google on your desktop computer earlier, as soon as you start to type in the Google Maps search box on your phone, it will suggest the restaurant and other locations you have previously searched for on your computer or phone.
As the report notes, Google updating its Google Maps app for Android on Wednesday is no coincidence. Today happens to conveniently coincide with the release of iOS 6, which kicks Google Maps off Apple’s mobile operating. Cupertino basically decided to further itself from Mountain View by swapping out the latter’s maps integration for its own (arguably worse) service.
As a result, Google is showing its Android users some love. There’s no news as to whether the search giant will release a new version of Maps for iOS, like it did for YouTube. The only thing Mountain View would say about the issue is that it wants everyone to use Google Maps.
“We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land. “Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.”
In any case, the official Google Maps for Android changelog is a short one:
- Access your desktop and mobile search history through My Places.
- Single-handed zoom; double tap, then hold down your finger and slide to zoom.
We’ll keep you updated with any further improvements, whether that’s for Android, iOS, or other platforms.
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