Image via Google LatLong Blog
So far, the iPhone has been a traveler's best friend when it comes to easy apps for getting from place to place. But Google wants to ramp up its Android offerings and compete a little more, so now users can get directions for biking - which was only recently added to Google in the first place - shortcuts for driving, destination sharing among friends, and other features that make moving around much easier.
Just in time for National Bike Month, select the bike icon when getting directions to get an optimal bicycling route in the U.S. If you're in the mood for a more scenic ride, you'll also see the Bicycling layer on the map which shows dedicated bike-only trails (dark green), roads with bike lanes (light green), or roads that are good for biking but lack a dedicated lane (dashed green).
For those still driving, Google provides shortcut routing so you don't even have to think about how to get there:
With the new Navigation shortcut, you can pick a destination and be on your way with as little as 2 taps of your finger. Select the "Navigation" icon in your phone's app launcher to get the new destination selection view. Then, speak or type your destination, pick one from your contacts, choose a starred place, or select a recent destination. Navigation will begin and you're good to go. Make it even easier on yourself by adding the Navigation icon right on your Home screen.
And there are a few more options for making traveling around fun, such as sharing where you're heading with friends so they can meet you there, set up a central location for a group of friends meeting one another, or send your location to small groups via email or text. That last part might be TMI, but Mom would appreciate it.
To access this, head to Google Maps in Android Market from Android 1.6+ phones and update your app. For those of you who aren't Android users, there are other apps out there to help you get around, like Layars augmented reality app or a whole slew for walking, biking and driving.
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