On Monday, Google updated its Google Maps for Android to version 4.4. The update makes Google’s Place Pages business listings more usable on mobile devices. In the process, the application now resembles Yelp’s Android app more than ever, and provides major competition for the business locator website.
The update, once installed, adds a new Places icon in your list of Android applications. The app dashboard displays seven business categories (restaurants, coffee, bars, hotels, attractions, ATMs, and gas stations), as well as a search bar, a shortcut to Google Maps, and a GPS location indicator. Users can also add more of their own categories for frequently searched terms, such as “movie theater,” “post office,” “place that sells Fritos.”
Search results offer listings that provide information on business address, rating, open hours, and user reviews. Once a particular listing is tapped on, more details on price level, parking, web site address, Wi-Fi, etc., are given, as well as shortcut buttons to show the location on a map, give directions, call the business, or get a street view image.
This Google search aggregates business information from a variety of sites, including Yelp, CitySearch, GrubHub, and Yahoo. Though it doesn’t have a search page perhaps as appealing as Yelp’s, it may win users over by providing the most comprehensive data available in one location. Google’s command of web data and Android interface already make it a formidable competitor that Yelp probably does not want hovering over it.
Google Maps 4.4 is compatible with Android version 1.6 and later. According to Google, Blackberry users will also receive a similar update soon.
[Photo courtesy of searchengineland.]