Google Maps gets transit remake as mobile leads
Google marked a pair of milestones for its mobile mapping on Wednesday with both an app and the rise of mobile. Google Maps 5.5 for Android (Market) has received a newly overhauled section for mass transit stops designed to reduce the dependence on plotting a course for routes. A given stop will now show the upcoming departures with color-coded lines, all the lines regardless of the time, and nearby stations if the current one won't work.
Google Hotpot now permanent in Places
Google on Friday was happy enough with the state of its Hotpot location recommendation service to make it a permanent staple of Google Places. The once experimental feature will now be subsumed into the place pages on the web and in mobile apps. Uniting the two should have a practical benefit by simplifying the link between the basic place information and how the places have been reviewed.
Google Maps for Android adds two-way Latitude talk
A Thursday afternoon 5.2 update to Google Maps for Android (Market) has given the app a much more social element. Latitude now finally supports interaction with others through "pings." Users can ask their friends to check in with a ping and get a notification to help find them after the check-in, such as when they've reached a local bar for a meetup.