Google Maps for Android has now been updated to version 5.0, and offers a lot of new features. One of the biggest new features is that you can now see some of the maps in 3D, but also that the maps themselves are vector-based which means that they will not be loaded frame by frame, as was the case before.

This allows you to interact with the maps in the following ways:

  • Tilting: Drag down with two fingers to tilt the map. Tilt while zoomed in on one of the 100+ cities around the world with 3D buildings to see a skyline spring to life.
  • Rotating: Twist with two fingers to rotate the map. After tilting to see 3D buildings, rotate around them to gain a new perspective from any direction.
  • Smooth zooming: Slide two fingers together or apart, and see the map and labels continuously scale to any zoom level, stopping when your fingers stop.
  • Compass mode: Center the map on your location, and then tap the compass button in the top right corner. The map will flip into 3D mode and start rotating to match your perspective, while still keeping all the labels upright and readable.

Another new feature is that Google has added a bit of offline reliability to the maps. Google Maps can now cache (or store) large areas on your device based on where you use Maps the most. Read more about this on the Google Mobile Blog.

Unfortunately, this update did not bring Navigation to us in Scandinavia, so this is a feature we still have to wait for.

Some of the new features does not work on all Android phones, a list of compatible phones can be found here. Google Maps 5.0 is available from the Market now.

(via AndroidGuiden)