New Google Maps app rolling out to smartphones and tablets

Google has announced a new Google Maps app for Android smartphones and tablets, which is also set to arrive on the iPhone and iPad in the near future.

Delivering a new mapping experience that aims to make exploring the world and getting to places more convenient, the app is gradually being introduced globally in Google Play and will be made available soon in the App Store. Building on the design released for the iPhone last December, Google has added a few useful search and navigation features to its first dedicated app for Android tablets and iPads. In addition, Google is also retiring Latitude and is making some changes to offline and My Maps.

Enhanced navigation

Google Maps now automatically suggests faster routes to help you avoid bad traffic. All you have to do is tap "Reroute" and you'll be on your way. This feature is available only on Android and is coming soon to iOS. And of course you can always use voice guided, turn-by-turn navigation. After selecting a place, just tap the transportation icon (car, tram, or walking) and you'll get quick and accurate directions to your destination.

Information at your fingertips

The "info sheet" resting at the bottom of the screen offers complete details about each place. Tap to expand the "info sheet" to full screen and you'll get everything from star ratings and store hours, to panoramic interior imagery that enables you to See Inside the restaurant.

Designed for tablets

A dedicated tablet design brings all the features of this new app to Android tablets and iPads, which makes exploring the world from the comfort of your living room much more fluid, smooth and fun.

Latitude and check-ins are being dropped, and will be retired from older versions on 9 August. Instead, Google has added location sharing and check-ins to Google+ for Android (coming soon to iOS). Also no longer available is the offline maps feature; if you want to access maps offline, simply enter "OK Maps" into the search box when viewing the area you want for later.

Finally, My Maps functionality is not supported in this release but will return to future versions of the app. People who want to create powerful custom maps can still do so with Maps Engine Lite on desktop.

The new Google Maps for mobile is compatible with Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean devices and iOS 6+ when available.