Google Maps 3.0 for iOS (teaser 001)

The Internet giant Google today refreshed its native Maps iOS app with a handful of stuff, including lane guidance in turn-by-turn navigation, Uber integration, Voice Search and more.

A major update, Google Maps 3.0 – available free of charge in the App Store – now allows you to save maps so you can access them without an Internet connection, a major advantage over Apple’s built-in Maps.

While you could previously save maps by typing ‘ok maps’ into the search field, version 3.0 takes this further by providing a proper menu item for the feature and syncing your saved maps across devices. There’s lots more to get excited about this Google Maps release so jump past the fold and have a look yourself…

Google’s description of the offline mode:

Don’t worry if you’re not online. Before setting off on your next vacation, hike, or roadtrip, search for an area and tap on its place info sheet, then when available, you can select “Save map to use offline,” and give your map a custom name, like “Toronto Vacation.”

To find your offline maps, sign-in, tap the profile icon next to the search box in the top right corner, and scroll to see “Toronto Vacation” and other saved maps. 

The new ‘Save map to use offline’ option is illustrated below.

Google Maps 3.0 for iOS (Offline Maps)

The ability to save maps for offline use is region dependent so it’d be wise to consult Google’s list of available countries before trying to cache maps.

I’m also digging lane guidance in turn-by-turn directions!

It’s an awesome new feature which basically tells you which lane to stay in or move when navigating. And not only does this suggest lanes that might be best for your route, you also get a much better overview of alternate routes when navigating.

If you ask me, this is one of those features that prove Apple Maps still have a long way to go to catch up with Google.

Google Maps 3.0 for iOS (Transit Directions)Google Maps 3.0 for iOS (Navigation with Lane Guidance)
Transit directions (left) and navigation with lane guidance (right).

According to this Google support document, lane guidance is currently available in the United States (highways and local roads in major metropolitan areas), Canada (highways only) and Japan (non-highway roads), though I’m sure Google will expand coverage to new markets as soon as humanly possible.

As for your transit results, Google says there are now more than a million public transit stops on Google Maps. As a bonus, the app now displays total walking time of your trip and the next scheduled bus or train.

Next time you’re in Chicago, search for directions to Lincoln Park Zoo, tap the train icon, and select “Depart at” to choose the time and day you want to leave—or even “last train home” for those night owls—so you get the most accurate transit information for your needs.

Some of the aforementioned features are only available for signed-in users. For example, you must sign in to see the places you’ve saved on Google Maps across all your devices and access the new ‘Places to review’ list from your recently saved or searched-for places.

To save a location for later, tap on its place card and then hit the star icon. As a reminder, the place card is also where you dive into Street View, if available for a location. Note that some hotels, restaurants and other points of interest even have indoor photos in Street View.

Google Maps 3.0 for iOS (Local Search Filters)Google Maps 3.0 for iOS (Uber integration)
Local search filters (left) and Uber integration (right).

U.S. users can now filter their search results for restaurants, bars and hotels by rating, price, opening hours and other criteria.

And lastly, if you have a free Uber iOS app installed, you’ll be able to compare your ride with transit and walking directions in some cities, right within Google Maps.

“And if you choose the Uber option, you’ll jump right into the Uber app with just one click,” writes Google.

By the way, Google’s investing arm called Google Ventures put a cool $258 million into Uber  last August. It’s the ridesharing service’s largest deal to date.

Here’s everything that’s new in Google Maps 3.0:

• Turn-by-turn navigation now gives lane guidance and quick access to route overview (US and Canada only)
• View travel time, distance, and estimated arrival all at once in navigation mode (US only)
• Save offline maps to a custom list for when you’re traveling or have a slow connection
• Transit results now display total walking time of your trip and the next scheduled bus or train
• Filter search results for restaurants, bars and hotels by rating, price, opening hours, and more (US only)
• Sign in to see your “Places to review” list from recently saved or searched-for places
• If you have the Uber app installed, open it right from Google Maps when comparing route options
• Access your iPhone or iPad contacts directly from the Google Maps app
• Tap and hold anywhere on the map to drop a pin, save and share that location
• Search without typing using Google Voice Search
• Scale bar to estimate distances on the map

Download Google Maps free in the App Store.

iOS 6.0 or later is required.

Just out of curiosity: do you need any more reasons to switch to Google Maps from Apple Maps?

  • Darren

    Well it looks like it’s time to switch to Google Maps from Apple Maps.

    • David Villamizar

      can people actually switch from Apple Maps?

      • Rowan09

        He meant using it instead, but I believe they have a jailbreak tweak to make it default.

      • David Villamizar

        I know dude, I really meant what I commented.

    • Jack Wong

      I don’t see any reason to switch to be honest, please share.

      • David Villamizar

        There are as many reasons as non-capital cities outside the US.

      • Jack Wong

        If that is the case then those people should stick with Google map since day1, this is not a new app.

        And I am asking how this “update” can make people switch.

      • Five year old POIs for example. White Streets with light gray sourroundings on grey background. Lot of withe spaces like northern cyprus, a search bar that you can’t compare with the one from Google Maps….

        But wow they have 10 citys that you can fly over woohaaa!

      • Jack Wong

        I see, just glad that it works very well in NYC, NJ, HK, and Taiwan.

        That’s what I up to so far.

      • Robert Goldberg

        I’ve used apple maps maybe 10 times or so and EVERY SINGLE TIME it took me to Guatemala instead of where I actually needed to go. Never using apple maps again. Besides, google always has the most up-to-date information on the POI’s and there’s really no other navigation/maps app that can beat that. And finally, the new interface in google maps is gorgeous!

  • El Matador

    Mapping Heavyweight!

  • oralarts

    Apple maps with vector based tiles caches data, so you can also use it without an internet connection.

    • Rowan09

      That’s true I was using it in Jamaica without Internet connection.

    • But there’s no way of telling it what to download is here.. unless you like flicking around a map hoping it saves enough tiles for when you go offline.

      • Rowan09

        The GPS antenna works, but without signal you won’t have navigation. I use Navigon for offline maps, but I’m going to check out how Google maps does it.

      • oralarts

        I have navigated successfully for over 50 miles without cell coverage. No, you cannot download maps, but there is no need to do so.

    • Jack Wong

      No wonder, because I do use it like ~3hours weekly but most of the time they are the same route.

  • Still can’t access google saved “custom” maps?! Sigh..

  • emayteetee

    I just wish it would have a banner on the top when in other apps like apple maps have. And I love the lock screen integration of apple maps. That being said, Google maps is far more superior than Apple maps

    • Rowan09

      When it comes to POIs and accuracy, but Apple maps looks far better. Google maps is forcing Apple to keep working hard on maps.

      • “But Apple maps looks far better.”

        I’d agree if it weren’t for the iOS 7 make over. However after that lazy make over, Google map’s navigation screen looks much better…all subjective.

      • emayteetee

        I personally love the iOS 7 refresh, once I look at iOS 6 >, it just seems big clunky and bold. iOS 7 seems fresh, thin, bouncy, and eye popping. My opinion.

  • “iOS 7.0 or later is required.”

    Liar, liar, pants on fire ;P

  • BklynGuy999

    The dropped pin feature still doesn’t allow you to edit a saved location’s name. Bummer!

  • François Julien

    Anyone being able to save satellite image in this version ? It was working with 2.x using “ok maps” in search field

  • Eli aka Mr. Haha

    The only reason I probably won’ switch is because I like the fact that Apple Maps is integrated with my iPhone. In other words, it has access to features like having the app running on the lock screen, and giving me directions up at the top when I exit the maps app. It kinda sucks that Google won’t ever really be able to be fully integrated like Apple maps :/

  • White Michael Jackson

    did they fix the walking directions problem? the arrow NEVER seems to point the way I am pointing.

    • Guest

      You’re just holding it wrong.-Steve Jobs

  • myfirstblogpost

    The only thing missing from Google Maps on iPhone is voice over through bluetooth won’t work when using another audio source for music. Apple Maps doesn’t have this problem–it is the one thing stopping me from totally switching. Has Google addressed this yet?

  • Suzanne Kennedy McQuaid

    I’ve always preferred google maps, but find it strange that I could use offline maps in tiny Portugal but not huge Spain. Odd omission.

  • John in Michigan, USA

    I have spotty wireless coverage in my rural area so I have 10 offline maps that I created. They are great, except when they expire, there is no way to force them to update/refresh all at once. Instead you have to update them one by one. Worse, after each update completes, it returns you to the main app screen (the home screen?) instead of returning me to the screen I was looking at before I touched update. I end up having to make about 5 touches (gestures) in order to update a single map….times 10 maps…very annoying!