Google Ditches Latitude and Check-ins with New Maps App

Google today announced the launch of a brand new Maps application for Android smartphone and tablet users. The new version of Maps boasts enhanced navigation as well as Explore, a new feature that helps users discover places to eat and shop nearby. There's also now a dedicated tablet design that offers a smoother more fluid experience. Maps will also now integrate ratings from Zagat, reviews, and offers into search results.

"Helping you find great places is what we love to do. And as more of us use mobile phones and tablets in our daily lives, information that’s useful to you isn't just about what you need, but also where you might find it," said Google's Daniel Graf. "Today's update is an exciting step forward for Google’s maps—one that we hope will make it faster and easier for you to explore and discover places you want to go."

It's not all new features though. The new version of Maps will also see Google ditch Latitude and check-ins. They're not featured in the new version of Maps and will even be retired from older versions come August 9. The company is also changing how offline maps work. Google says that while offline maps will no longer be available Android users, they will be able to access maps offline by entering 'OK Maps' into the search box when viewing the area they want to save for later.

The app is rolling out globally in Google Play (it's a gradual thing, so don't panic if you don't see it). Google has promised an iPad and iPhone version will be available in the App Store soon.

Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.