Google Quietly Updates Maps For webOS | webOS Nation
 
 

Google Quietly Updates Maps For webOS 96

by Robert Werlinger Tue, 15 Dec 2009 11:45 am EST

For the second time since launching back in June, Google Maps for webOS has quietly received an update.  The first update came our way back in October, and brought with it a number of enhancements, the most notable of which were the addition of public transportation and walking directions to the already available driving directions.

This update brings with it a number of notable enhancements as well.  Unfortunately, there's no official change log to be found anywhere on the Google Mobile blog or even an acknowledgment that there's been even been an update, so we're left to our own devices to find the differences between this version and the last without being able to compare them side by side.  Here's what we've got so far:

  • Google Maps reports itself as being at version 6.7 (tap the Menu button > Help & Terms > About).
  • There seem to be substantial improvements in overall speed and rendering.  Menus open, transition, and close faster, and map rending seems vastly more robust.
  • We now have kinetic scrolling
  • An updated "Menu" interface with new graphics for switching between the Map and Satellite modes
  • A new "Help and Terms" Menu
  • Better integration into local public transit systems (at least here in Portland, Ore)
  • The ability to interact with the icons the map.  Tapping on the icon of a business or a transit stop will bring up the associated listing, allowing easy access to phone numbers, directions, reviews, and more.
  • A new dedicated "Results" button that, as one would guess, brings up the results of a search query. 

There's no question at this point that most of the webOS version of Google Maps is kept server side.  After firing up my comically out of date emulator running version 1.1 of the SDK, I discovered that all of the changes listed above were there as well.

It's great to see that Google is actively committed to enhancing the webOS version of its Maps software It gives us hope that it wont be too long before we start seeing services like Latitude and (dare I say) Navigation to make their to webOS.

Our list of enhancements is by no means a comprehensive change log, and there are sure to be things that we've overlooked.  If you find something that isn't on our list, do feel free to let us know in the comments! 

Thanks to @vara411 for the tip!

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96 Comments

Mine says it's running v.6.7

on my german gsm 1.3.1 pre it says in device infos "Google Maps Version 1.0" wtf, you have 6.6?

You need to check it in the app itself. Click the Menu button, then the Terms & Conditions item, then About.
And I have 6.7 also.

ah thx, ok i also have v6.7!

Don't check Device Info for the version #. Check within Google Maps (Menu> Help & Terms> About).

what happened to latitude?

Nothing has ever happened to Latitude...

My thoughts exactly.

I was hoping Google would include Latitude in the update, but I guess not.

Mine says 6.7 also.... just checked when I read this.

Yep, version 6.7 on mine also.

Well not only does mine say 6.7, but Robert says "An updated "Menu" interface with new graphics for switching between the Map and Satellite modes", I looked that the menu, it is the same exact menu that I have had for months and I've also been able to click on icons on the map for quite a while as well.

I guess it is the article that is out of date...

mine says 1.0...I have a sprint palm pre

The version of the App on the Pre will probably always be 1.0. This is just a shell to download the Google Maps program when it runs. Inside the Google Maps program, you will see the current version.

6.7 here also.

mine says 1.0...I have a sprint palm pre

not really sure what your definition of "better" is (in reference to the transit system "update"). i checked my version, and it says v 1.0 . and yes, my pre's webOS has been updated to 1.3.1 and updates doesn't have anything new.

I live 5 minutes away from one of the largest malls in the portland oregon area. This mall happens to have a transit center in it, so I selected it, and saw nothing but "---- Transit Center". No bus arrivals. No stop ID #'s. Nothing.

I am running preware, could this be interfering with my maps update(s)? i really doubt it, since everything else has updated just fine.

Again, tap the "menu" button within Google Maps and then "Help/Terms" ... then "about"

It will show you version 6.7

This rocks!!! I've been waiting for some kinetic scrolling!!! I hope they improved GPS location!! It's been spotty I have to say. Especially in NYC! Come'on google!

Mine says v6.7 as well. I'm with Sprint.

Dumb question but what is kinetic scrolling?

When your finger lifts, the map keeps moving and slows down before stopping.

Sorry but what do you meant by kinetic scrolling? Thanks!

Wow, finally Google Maps doesn't suck for me. It's actually usable.

i have a sprint palm pre and i have version 1.0 of google maps...what's up with that?

To see what version you have, tap the "menu" button within Google Maps and then "Help/Terms" ... then "about"

It will show you version 6.7!

i only get the standard "edit" option after tapping menu within the google maps application. No "help/terms" option for me.

edit: never mind i found it, i'm an idiot.

Updated how to find the version - 1.0 is what's on the Pre, 6.7 is the server-side app.

Still no streetview? WHY?

We need street view! I have to say the GPS and Map are great, even in neiborhoods. I use my Garmin to get close, then Google map on my Pre to determine exactly which house im looking for. Hasnt let me down yet.

Woohoo! They fixed Google location services when connected to AirRaves, which affects every application, not just Maps. It used to think I was 30 miles southwest of here.

I thought I noticed this too!! YES!!! That really was driving me crazy.

this is by far the best improvement for me! before, using location based services was not possible at home (unless I was able to get a GPS fix, which nto all programs use anyway). I'm really glad they fixed this!

When you zoom in all the way the flat map adds 3D translucent outlines of buildings superimposed over the map (did this for Manhattan).

Has it always done this?

I tried it on my phone, and it didn't work. I assume it only works in major metropolitan areas. Kind of a cool feature, though. :)

I live in the suburbs of NYC (Northern NJ) and I noticed that the lot for my house is clearly shown now. Meaing the property lines of my house and all of the houses in my town are shown. Anyone else notice this?

still on 1.0,

READING COMPREHENSION FAIL. Look at the posts above you. It's not in the Pre system's about...that'll still show 1.0, as the app installed on the Pre hasn't changed. The updates are server side, and the new update number can be viewed by opening the app, going to Menu-->Help & Terms-->About.

perhaps you should know that those of us who have version 1.0 (server side or whatever) dont even have the "help & terms" option after tapping menu within the app. only the "edit" option is listed there.

edit: nevermind found it i'm an idiot.

Roger-

I have 1.0 "on the Pre" as well..we all do. And it's not under the drop down menu in the google maps...once you open google maps there's the MENU button in the lower right hand corner. Tap that, it brings up a menu. There, you'll find the help and terms button.

Jeez.

yeap, i had edited my post a minute before u replied back...but thanks anyways.

Nice improvements but still wish pressing the + or - on the keyboard would zoom in and out.

No signal right now to see but what about the basics?:

1) direction of travel indicator on current location dot
2) ability to save favorite locations

Traffic is now a toggle. When you click it on once, it remembers the setting and is always on when you close then come back to the program.

When using Google map on my Sprint Pre with version 6.7, my coordinate is usually showing that I'm off track when I am on track, but then will show I'm back on track. Everytime I go to a different screen, it will go off and then back on track. Very weird w/ location accuracy. Not sure if this is a Google map thing or the GPS receiver itself. Anybody else experiencing this?

I used to have a Sprint Motorola Q9c which always showed that I'm on the right track.

I use google maps everyday (not yet today) so any speed improvements are more than welcome. Wait... It says I have 1.0 J/K I wish people saying they have 1.0 would learn to read before posting a comment.

lattitude and street view would be awsome to have.

When they say you can click on the business icon on the map, are they referring to the red little teardrop icons? When I click on it, nothing happens.

Mine says 6.7

No, I just tried it. When there are local places like an Amtrak station that shows up on the map in an icon, you can click on the icon to see more info about that place of business.

Voodoo Doughnut is one strange place. They have maple bars with bacon on them, and the interior is just odd. I tried the bacon maple bar; not horrible. Go for Cocoa Puffs on chocolate. That's the ticket.

There's a bigger issue here that I think people are missing. Google is improving its software server-side and not relying on the local software for improvements. That seems like a super-huge deal and a model that doesn't appear to be going on elsewhere.

Seems like the most appropriate model for a cloud-based phone, right?

At least for apps that are 100% reliant on web access. I wouldn't want things like my on-device games to be purely cloud-based.

No, there's need for a balance between them. Look at how people complain that the translation dictionaries require web access. But apps that rely on cloud-based services would make more sense as server-side software projects rather than beefing up everything client-side. Off the top of my head, it'd be:

- Facebook
- Twitter
- Myspace
- LinkedIn
- Yelp
- Wikipedia

So ideally Facebook would write a basic app for its service and then pretty it up on the backend that the app talks to. Maybe that's what they planned with the FB app that's in the catalog, but I doubt that.

Multi-touch is great and all, but I was able to use Google Maps much easier - WITH ONE HAND - on my 2 year old WinMo phone because it had "+" and "-" buttons for zooming. Therefore I could be driving and zooming in or out comfortably with the touch of a button instead of putting the Pre on my leg and trying to multi-touch zoom while watching the road. If there's just one enhancement that I want, it's the option to show "+" and "-".

I agree.

I'd love this functionality for the Browser as well. I wonder if it's possible to patch the use of a gesture (circle around the white button (clockwise in/counter-clockwise out?). I know that would change one way to make a "back" gesture, but since that is already duplicated with the swipe, would anyone care? I'll request in the forum as soon as I can.

I think it go far to make single handed use possible in alot of applications. Y'know...if it is possible (non-developer is speaking out the side of his head right now...)

NB

Me too, mentioned above, google maps use to be a 1 hand application, now it is not.

just double tap to zoom

Though that works, it is not near as responsive as the + key was on my Centro, still requires more concentration than I would like to put on doing so. And there is no zoom out at all.

+/- would be a great option.

Off by default, please.

Can't you get married at VooDoo? I know I saw that on the Food Network!

This is great. These updates would make it better also:

#1 Street View
#2 Send business contact info Via SMS/Email
#3 History of Entries so we dont have to retype it
#4 Latitude

It does show the history now. Thanks palm/google!

Finally have some traffic information (I live in Iowa and never had that before) and Satellite view looks a whole lot more detailed than ever before. This is awesome. Thanks almighty Google!

Great updates.

I wonder how many more updates can be made server side. And who made the google app on the phone itself? Palm or Google?

I'm ready for an app upgrade to allow search history and things like that. But for now it works well.

btw, does anyone remember the url that this app feeds off of?

From looking at the Device Info --> app list, I would have to say the client side app is probably developed by Palm, since it reads by Palm, Inc. while the Sprint Navigation app reads by TeleNav, Inc.

who allows google to change something on my phone without asking me?
it's a shame that the internetkraken has access to my pre. for what else are they looking there?

Pff... they are obviously not changing or grabbing nothing on your phone, you connect to their servers (that is why is called server side) and you get the app from there, so they can do whatever they want with their app.

It's the other way around. Your Pre is accessing Google's servers.

Meh. I want to have "pins" (dunno how there're called exactly) just like in the browser app...

Hopefully Trapster and other map programs update there apps now.

Didn't realize it was such a surprise that Google Maps was cloud. That's the _real_ reason that internet access is required to use the app... because there _is_ no app on the phone. Would be awesome if we could cache some map tiles or whatnot and be able to run even without internet access.

Hurray for interacting with the icons. They need to make the public trans tiles a bit smarter (on browser version you can select a stop and find departure/arrival times at that stop, etc.) but I'm not complaining - we'll probably see that in a future version.

Street view, even if we can't navigate with it (select a point and view that, but not walk down the street-view street necessarily) would be nice.

Surprised Latitude isn't there yet... but given the choice, interactive icons >>> Latitude IMO.

@FischOderAal: the 'pins' you talk about, do you mean the results that match the search but aren't in the current result set?

Oh, and as for zoom, would love zoom with the volume buttons. Though I am not nearly as zealous about this as other people seem to be.

Nope, I mean "pins" to mark and save specific locations.

Two biggies that are missing:
Copy Location URL
eMail Directions

At the moment, the "Get Directions" function is down. Attempts to load, then just goes back to the map view.

I love Voodoo Doughnuts. The maple bacon is the best doughnut I've ever had. There is a place on the east side called "Delicious Doughnuts" which are pretty good too. Nothing as creative as Voodoo but a few of their standard varieties rival Voodoo doughnuts' standards for sure.

When will there be Google Latitude on the Palm Pre ?

(Germany ...)

Just to mention it. I've had a dedicated Results button forever, it was just called "Result List."

And wow, the map is down right blazing fast now. Well done google.

Hey mine says version 1.0.
What is up with that?


Oh, wait, I found it. If only I could read all the posts above mine.

HA HA.

Sarcasm Alert Sounded.

I really wish they would move the menu and search box to the application instead of having the whole thing web-based.

When the app loads I want to be able to start typing in the box immediately. As it currently sits, it has to download the searchbox from the internet before you can start typing. Annoying. Have some of the application pre-loaded on the phone!

The fact that the client still sits at 1.0 tells you most of the application has to be downloaded on each use. The client "app" is little more than a glorified link to a webpage.

I just checked this out and I have 6.7. As for kinetic scrolling, I can't really tell how much this works. I don't remember Google Maps on the Pre lacking this before to be honest but while it does SORT OF keep scrolling after I lift my finger it's not enough to make it super good. It should scoll as much as a web page does when you flick the screen.

I will say though, Google Maps is now SUPER fast at rendering the maps in both map and satellite views. Everything I search for comes up extremely fast. Before, the entire experience was sluggish.

Now all we need is Latitude, Street View and the ability to copy the directions URL and e-mail directions.

mine is considerably slower than the previous one.. i mean.. big time slower.. maps load slower.. and rendering is alot slower in general..

Still won't show a UK address if you open Google Maps from contact address. It opens google maps OK but can't find address, however entering the postcode works fine...go figure?

sorry to here that dgrobe. mine is significantly faster. i'd go as far as to say 5times faster.... before the experience was quite sluggish, but now its immediate and there's almost no lag when scrolling. i'm also impressed with the bus routing.

HEY! Another Portland, Oregon pre owner. C:

When google maps integrated public transport I was happy. It seems off with several of it's suggestions however. I don't think it was accounting for the green line, I wonder if it does now?

the question remains for it to be of any real use in the UK you need full postcode search;o(

I live in the suburbs of NYC (Northern NJ) and I noticed that the lot for my house is clearly shown now. Meaning the property lines of my house and all of the houses in my town are shown. Anyone else notice this I can't remember if this showed up before.

No lot line shown here in the suburbs of Chicago.

I like the enhancements but it doesn't seem any faster to me.

Love how you used Portland for the pic.

The Google maps now remember recent addresses entered when you tap "get directions" and then tap the area where you would enter the address all the recent addresses come up. If this was already stated...my apologies

When Im in satellite view and I zoom in real close to a location, after a few seconds it zooms out automatically. Why does it do this? Is anyone else having this problem?

It still is slow - beyound usability; still keeps dropping me back to my location when I try to browse map somewhere else - _extremely_ annoying...
I would say: google map sucks a fingernail bit less than before on Pr? now...

hmmm, am I the only one whose version says 6.9? Perhaps it's cuz I followed the link that enabled Latitude on my GMaps. That was several days ago and the Google servers haven't yet reverted me back (for not being an iPhone). And no, I didn't install the iPhone User-Agent patch

@Deepers, I did the same thing and went to http://maps.google.com/maps/m?mode=latitude just now. My version says 7.7.

When I open maps via the link above I get Latitude functionality. When I open the maps app directly I get no Latitude. Both methods show as version 7.7

Weird.

this app is great but how bout rotation like the iphone version?

I don't like the new update all that much - works too slowly and it messes up some maps now.

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On my Pre2, it is v8.1
But no new functionalities whatsoever...at least that I can see.