updated 02:15 pm EDT, Wed July 6, 2011
Google releases updated Maps 5.7 Android app
Google on Wednesday announced it has released a beta version of Google Maps 5.7 app (free, Android Market) that brings with it Transit Navigation. The new stop-by-stop directions are available for more than 400 cities around the world. It alerts users when they need to get off a bus or train or make a transfer, useful in foreign countries where maps or announcements are unavailable or can't be understood.
The app will run in the background and alerts will continue to be shown at the top edge of the smartphone's screen, so users can relax while on their journey. A vibration accompanies this visual alert as well. Google cautions that the feature should only be used in above-ground transit, as it relies on GPS signals.
The app otherwise got detailed improvements, including a streamlined process of accessing directions from the Place page. Search suggestions are also faster and more accurate and the results got category icons so they're easier to sort at a glance. A photo viewer was also added to the Place pages, helping users decide where to go in their travels.