Setting the mapping bar

Google Maps has evolved into much more than a basic piece of mapping software.

As far as mobile mapping goes, Google Maps for Android offers one of the best experiences you can get. More than a simple piece of mapping software, this feature-fest offers turn-by-turn navigation, voice search, indoor mapping (select locations), public transportation information, Street View, and so much more.

When viewing a location, Google Maps lets you activate a variety of add-on layers offering information like traffic, terrain, transit lines, and more. There's even a Wikipedia layer that plots out entries related to your location. And if that's not enough, you can zoom all the way into Street View for areas that have coverage.

One of the most important aspects of Google Maps for Android is directions. With Google Maps, you can easily conduct a search for a destination with text or voice, and get directions for driving, public transit, walking, or even biking. Hit the big blue arrow icon to activate voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. While traveling you can even fire up alternate routes if you happen to run into traffic.

But Google Maps is more than just, well, maps. The application offers other baked-in services like Offers for nearby deals, Local search powered by Google Places and Zagat, and Latitude for locating Google contacts on the map (with their permission, of course). These services in aggregate make for a complete mobile experience that is pretty hard to beat.

Lastly, Google Maps for Android now lets you cache maps for access while offline. This is hugely useful for travelers who frequently find themselves in areas outside of their home mobile networks. The feature lets you pinch and drag to determine the area you want to cache, and it tells you how much memory the saved file will cost you.

In short, Google Maps is a must-have application for anyone with a mobile device.

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