New Google Maps for Android: Slick Looks, Better Navigation

A tweaked version of Google Maps for Android is now rolling out, which includes a bunch of new features first mentioned by the search giant back in May.

The new app appeared in the Play store last night, and brings the app originally previewed at I/O in May to the masses. Echoing the aesthetic of the browser-based Maps, the overall look is sleek: fewer buttons, clearer fonts, tighter menus.

In terms of features, navigation is heavily improved: alternative routes are presented more clearly, traffic issues pop up instantly, and there's even a dynamic re-routing feature which will offer you an updated route if there's traffic—or some other incident—ahead that you might want to avoid. Elsewhere, reviews have been given an overhaul—including Zagat rating being converted to fit with Google's five-star scale—and local guides are more prominent than before.

It's not all great news: sadly, the offline maps option has been removed from the app. But don't fear, there's an Easter egg built in which means you can kinda claw back that feature. Find the area you want available offline, search for "OK maps", and the current pane should be cached. Not convenient, but better than nothing.

The app is rolling out over the next week or so to devices with Android 4.0 and up. [Google Play]