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.

  • targetdrone
    I wish Google would get off (bong smoke) cloud and give us USEABLE offline maps so we can at least find our way home when traveling in areas will little to no data service.

    I was hoping I could ditch my Garmin after getting a Galaxy Note II but I can't.
  • Hard Line

    This is why I use scout :p
  • livebriand
    If this doesn't have offline maps, I'm not updating to it. Hopefully this is just a temporary thing - it sounds like some things are missing from the redesign at the moment...
  • ikefu
    Anyone know a good replacement for Latitude? Pissed that I'm losing that. It was super helpful in knowing that friends got home safe.
  • Nakal
    You can do Offline Maps right now by typing OK Maps in the search field. Their blog/G+ page noted they will be patching in the Offline Maps button asap.

    What annoys me is they removed Google Navigation without a destination :( I always would just pop in my phone on the dock and enable navigation. I liked the UI/interface and relative ease of use when driving.
  • quotas47
    I actually like Latitude, and I imagine check-ins are now relegated to Google+, but why remove the link feature from Maps?