updated 01:27 pm EDT, Tue May 6, 2014
Uber joins as optional transit method
Google has updated its iOS and Android versions of Maps with a slate of new features. One of the most important is lane guidance during turn-by-turn navigation, telling drivers to switch or hold lanes as necessary. At the moment, lanes are only being displayed in the US and in "parts of Canada and Japan," according to Google. Navigation has also been upgraded with easier access to alternate routes while traveling.
Elsewhere, Google has restored quick access to offline maps. The feature was once integrated into the core Maps interface, but suddenly switched to being hidden behind an "OK Maps" command. In the updated software, a "Save Map to Use Offline" button is displayed in the info card for any given location. Offline maps can be given custom names, and loaded later via a person's profile page.
When searching for bars, hotels, and restaurants, new filters let users sort by hours, rating, price, and other criteria. Transit options have been extended in two ways -- the first is support for Uber, as long as that app is also installed, and a person is in a city with Uber service. When selecting public transit directions, Maps can compare regular options against Uber ETAs. In any transit option, users can now also set departure or arrival times, or get directions for the last ride home.
The updates are free downloads, and should roll out to iOS and Android users by the end of the day.