This is old news but man, the most recent update to Google Maps is impressive and I want to talk about it while the news is slow. Google’s now capitalizing on vector imaging which means less data to represent more things in a manner that can be created and manipulated using less bandwidth than the old tiles, and that means you can now tilt and twist around as if it were Google Earth with, depending where your looking, buildings in 3D. Give the My Location button (top right) a double tap to switch it from pointing north to pointing wherever you’re aiming the phone, drag two fingers to adjust the pitch and move around. Pretty sweet stuff right there.

It’s fast too, you’ll appreciate that right away. But most importantly, because using this improved vector imaging costs lest storage space and bandwidth (and because Google just has a tendency to constantly improve their products and services, the ones that don’t flop immediately at least), caching for offline use has been greatly improved to avoid the word introduced. For me that comes in handy in the subway.

Though I haven’t had occasion to stress test that just yet, word is it caches by itself places you frequent relatively frequently, though only on wifi unless you give it permission to do 3G caching too, and caches your road trips for Navigation with enough additional data to reroute you if you hit a dead zone and head too far off the trail, whereas before you needed to stay on the route until you got your signal back. With that addition Google has removed a big selling point of conventional GPS devices over Navigation.

Over the years I’ve updated Google Maps updated for what feels like hundreds of times and I ain’t never seen that big an update punch since I switched over to Android (oh yeah, forgot to mention, you need Android for this one so check for the update on the market or update yourself to Android where you belong). An update so sweet it deserves its own well-produced Youtube video:

Your serve, Microsoft.

Doug Simmons via Phandroid

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