Google MapsGoogle Maps Live Wallpaper

Android 1.6+ Google Maps went and updated itself to Version 4.1 tonight, bringing with it an updated search page, support for multiple accounts, a Latitude widget and -- this is very cool -- the ability to make Google Maps your live wallpaper. Let's break it down, erm, after the break.

Search results

Search results have been "reimagined." They've got a new look and feel. instead of drilling down through a list, you're greeted with the top result and then can swipe left and right through other results. It's a nice change and is quite fluid.

Says Google:

"You can select any section to see more reviews, buzz, etc. If you want to get to more search results without going back to the list, simply grab the page with your finger and swipe it away to the left or right to see the next or last result."

It really is a long-overdue refresh for the search options of Google Maps. And search, after all, is what Google does best.

Latitude widget

Latitude widgetJust as it sounds. There's now a widget for Google Latitude. That's the kind of social-networking aspect that lets your friends see exactly where you are, if you so choose.

If you're new to Latitude, it's a bit more privacy friendly than Google Buzz was, at least at its outset. It won't broadcast your location unless you specifically tell it to.

(That said, does anybody actually use Latitude?)

Multiple accounts

Google's finally starting to realize that many of us have to manage more than one Google account, and Google Maps now handles multiple identities. Go to Menu>More>Switch account to sign out of your current account and into a new one. Nice touch.

Live wallpaper

Saved the best for last. As you can see from the picture at the top, you can now set Google Maps as a live wallpaper, which can be darn handy if you need quick access to traffic information. The rest of the time? Eh, who cares how useful it is -- it's pretty damn cool.