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Davis, California

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Tech Tips

What is it?

The Google Maps 5.1.0 app for Android has a number of new features that make it perfect for college students who like to travel.

The map is rendered in real time, and the smaller file size (about 100 times smaller) makes each map load faster and zoom in much more smoothly. Previously, each zoom-in would require the viewer to wait until the pixilated tiles were rendered in detail, but the zoom feature now allows the map to stay focused. As the user zooms in to a street level, buildings are rendered in 3D.

How is it better than current map apps?

One of the main problems I have experienced using a phone map is the confusion of the phone as I turn down side streets. Phones tend to become disoriented when I change directions. This app will hopefully eliminate such confusion, as it possesses a rotation feature that will rotate the map in accordance with a compass.

Finally, as an added boon to those who travel in areas without reliable Internet access, the app has an offline feature in which places that the user visits often remain in memory so that the user is not left stranded and lost.

How much does it cost?

The app is free, but most of the features are currently only available on Android phones. Hopefully, Google Maps will soon develop more of these features with the rest of the smartphones currently on the market.

– Amy Stewart

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