Update 1: Google’s updated the app to make the work around in the previous paragraph clearer. At the bottom of the Search history tab is an option to “Make the map area available offline”. Still not as useful as caching a map area, but it’s something at least.
It’s been a couple of months since a Google Maps refresh was announced at I/O 13 but it’s finally here! The new directions are there, as is a brand new interface and other optimisations. In a few words, it looks great, works great, and is simply fantastic.
There are a couple of issues, however. Firstly, the option to cache a map area for offline use is gone. It’s not there. There’s a bit of a hack that kind of does the trick, but it’s almost pointless unless you really need to save what you’re looking at in a pinch.
The second issue might not be that big a deal for many, but for some it’s been a deal breaker. Lattitude is gone from Google Maps, indeed Google have now released a statement that says that the service will be killed on the 9th of August, 2013. A Google+ service will replace it at a later date.
I’ve played around with it a little and I’m writing a hands on/review mashup (the service is still in beta on the PC, and I feel a full review might be unfair. Still undecided). The app looks fantastic and works great, but the features it lacks make travelling abroad nearly impossible using the service. Hell, any travel without a data connection is out of the question entirely.
If you haven’t got the update on the Play Store yet you can grab the APKs that Android Police has mirrored. Do read the post first, there are a couple of versions out there: one for 4.1 and another for 4.2, the 4.1 app won’t parse on a 4.2 phone and vice versa. There are also different APKs for other form factors. Be careful. You can get it here.