Android's Google Maps get social

May 11, 2010: 5:21 PM ET

Numerous upgrades to the Maps application include biking directions, Google Navigation shortcut and most importantly Location Sharing.

Google's updated Maps application just got a lot more social including the ability to publish your location via Google Buzz, Facebook or Twitter.

From any search results page, choose to "Share this place" to send that place's info, such as its address and phone number, to whomever you like. If you want to meet someone on a street corner or gather friends at an outdoor concert, you can also send an exact location from the map -- even a snapshot of your current location. Just use the share option after selecting a point on the map, your "My Location" blue dot, or yourself in Latitude if it's enabled. Whether you're sharing a place or a location, you'll be able to send it to small groups via an email or text message or send it widely with apps like Google Buzz, Facebook, or Twitter.

This functionality help Android match devices like Microsoft's (MSFT) Kin which focus on sharing with social media outlets.

The Maps 4.2 upgrade will also help bikers out...

Say you want to bike from Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.  Do you want to do a lot of climbing like the car or walking directions would have you doing or would you rather go along a flat surface on Market St. and the Embarcadero? (below)

I'm lazy so I am glad that biking directions factors in hill (topography) climbing into the equation.  The application obviously also gives preference to streets with bike lanes.

Google's new Navigation menu also gets you on the road faster with only two taps (and/or  a voice command)  between you and directions.

With the new Navigation shortcut, you can pick a destination and be on your way with as little as 2 taps of your finger. Select the "Navigation" icon in your phone's app launcher to get the new destination selection view. Then, speak or type your destination, pick one from your contacts, choose a starred place, or select a recent destination. Navigation will begin and you're good to go. Make it even easier on yourself by adding the Navigation icon right on your Home screen.

Google Maps 4.2 is available in the Android Market or here if you are on your Android device now.

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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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