A new Google Maps update has hit the Android Market, bringing the app to Version 5.2. The latest update from the Google Maps team mostly focuses on the social aspect.

For those of you that use Google's Hotpot, you will now be able to tweet your reviews using the integrated rating widget. The reviews will be appear in searches, Google.com/hotpot, and on Place pages.

In addition to the new tweetable Hotpot reviews, Google Latitude users will now be able to "ping" their friends. The new ping feature will appear in the notification bar. So, now instead of texting, emailing, or calling them, you can just ping them to meetup.

Google has also reminded us that you can also check-in using Google Latitude. The check-in feature was added last month to version 5.1. Not the biggest update in the world, but still, the Google Maps team is always innovating and updating the app.

Here's the changlog:

  • Post your reviews of places to Twitter
  • Check in at places with Google Latitude to earn status and share with friends
  • Ping Latitude friends to ask them to check in. Friends will get a check-in request notification from you.
  •  Search for a place to check in from Latitude if it's not in the suggested list of places.

Full deets are at Google's blog post. [Google Mobile Blog]

 

Reader comments

Google Maps updates to 5.2, focuses on Hotpot and Latitude

16 Comments

Slowly google is slowly crap-ifying their single best android app trying desperately to make latitude relevant.

Only a very small subset of city dwelling lonely hearts club members desperately trying to track down friends who are just as desperately trying to hide from them need this whole checkin business.

Not sure what that even means but I guess since I live in the city it means me. Not lonely by any means though. I've got a decent group of friends and I've been using Latitude for several years since I got it on my old WinMobile phone. It's a fun toy and an interesting opt-in way to keep in touch with your friends. If people want to "hide" from others, they simply don't ping their location on Latitude. One of the most fun times I had with Latitude was when a bunch of us were heading out of town for the weekend but taking different cars and on staggered schedules. I pulled up latitude and could see who we were ahead of and who was still stuck in traffic 50 miles back. It was funny seeing all of us spread out along a 4 hour drive up to the mountains. Likewise it can be useful for something as simple as meeting up at a big outdoor event or letting folks know you're out and about.

Like any other service, if it's not applicable or useful to you, you can always turn it off. There's plenty of them that others seem to love and I have no use for (Twitter for example). That's the beauty of opt-in software.

I have found Latitude to be very useful for family members actually. It isnt just used for stalking you know.

The problem is that the locations become "stale" and useless, despite anything either user does to "refresh" them. This has been extremely irritating to me, and is the main reason I hardly use it anymore. How come the user cant force a refresh of their position in it??

They need to fix that first before adding all this other crap like "Check-ins".

I agree totally. Forget this extra stuff for now. Make what is there work right first. I have the same issues.

Live in a large dense city like Chicago, San Francisco, Downtown LA, NYC, etc. and features like that will be very useful. In fact...there are millions of people who live in (and within reasonable driving distance) of those areas as opposed to small communities that are no where near large metropolitan areas.

Just because a feature is useless to you doesn't mean they are "crap-ifying" Google Maps...in fact they are trying to keep their users within their eco-system as opposed to having them use 4Square, Yelp or even Facebook check-in.

I agree with the first poster, but the feature is definitely neat. A strong alternative to other apps paid or not, on tracking down your children.
A lot may disagree but I will put this on my children's device until they are old enough to understand things I worry.

Why?

Do your kids dutifully whip out the phone out and check in every place they go? And if they ever did want to sneak off, how hard would it be to tap that widget to turn off GPS? And god forbid anyone grabs your kid the first thing that gets tossed/smashed is the cell phone.

Don't look to a hookup/meetup tool as a safety device for kids. Especially one as easily abused as this.

Remember that about 22% of kids have shared their passwords with others. Now, I'm sure your kids are savvy enough not to do that, but what about those friends they allow to see their Latitude status? Do any of THOSE kids have a creepy uncle?

"Hotpot" huh? Is that a new feature for tracking down certain types of individuals in Las Vegas? ;D

My question is will this version of Gmaps constantly run in the background on my phone like the previous version? Even when I have signed out of Latitude, the app still has a location service running all the time on my phone. no thanks!

Define running.

Just because the task is in memory doesn't mean it a) using the GPS, or b) reporting its location to anything else.

Maps always has had a service running in the background. Doesn't mean anything is really happening with it. If your GPS icon isn't on the notifications bar its not doing anything.

I'm betting you have a weather widget, or news feed, or Lookout, or something running. Those need to know where you are. If you truly don't want the phone to know where it is, you probably don't want an android phone, or any kind of smart phone.

Was always running in the background for me too. I'm using cm7 on the EVO and I always pay close attention to what is and isn't running... and since the last update, Maps is ALWAYS running.. and I haven't done anything different. It wasn't doing this before the last update regardless of what people say..

It isn't a huge deal because I haven't noticed a hit on battery.. just curious as to why it all of a sudden does this.

I have been noticing this too. Before, I would open Maps and the GPS would activate (icon appear in the notifications bar) and once I exited the app it (GPS) would turn off. Now, when I exit, the GPS remains active. To turn it off, I have to use the GPS widget (easier than going through settings) but then the GPS is turned off for any other service that may want to use it. Sad to see this happen with this update but happy I'm not the only one with this issue possibly.

- Aria on official Froyo release

You and everyone else should invest in "Tasker" & "Autostarts" for disabling apps that start in the background for no real reason and to automate repetitive tasks.