Follow Mode in Google Maps
The Google Maps homebrew app, as we recently tipped, is a significant enhancement to the mapping experience on webOS as compared to either the original Google Maps app or the current Bing maps. Homebrew developer Jan Herman (72ka) is actively working on app and is constantly adding in new features. We previously reported in the ability to change the views or layers of the maps, and now we bring you details on how to activate the "Follow" mode in the app. Normally, the map location is static to where you have navigated to, but it you tap on the icon in the top-right, the map will position itself on your current location and the icon will be highlighted blue. While this itself is nothing new, how the app functions when in "follow mode" is what makes it special.
As long as you do not manually scroll around the map, the app will keep you centered on the screen at all times, as opposed to keeping the map in the same place. You will also get a directional arrow to indicate what direction you are currently travelling in. This works on older devices, too, like the Pre2 that doesn't have a compass by using the GPS location changes (note that this feature is available even when you are not in Follow mode). Your movements can also calculate the current speed you are travelling, with is shown on the top header bar on the app. Unfortunately, it only shows as kph for now, but the developer is planning on supporting miles per hour in the future. Finally, activating Follow mode will override any screen timeout settings that you have set in the "Screen & Lock" settings app so the screen remains on indefinitely. This is definitely a great feature if you are using Google Maps in your car and don’t want constantly turn the power back on.
Normally, the app will also show the typical map with North facing towards the top of the screen. However, there is a experimental feature that you can activate in the Preference screen of the app that will actually cause the screen to rotate when in follow mode so the current direction that you are travelling always points to the top of the screen instead. As this is experimental, it is potentially unstable and may cause the app to crash. However, it has worked just fine in our experience.
Google Maps is available in the webOS Nation homebrew feed in Preware and is compatible with all webOS devices running webOS 1.4.5 or higher