Google Maps 5.0 for Android released, features 3D interaction andoffline reliability

Google has announced Google Maps 5.0 for Android, with two significant new features: 3D interaction and offline reliability. Google Maps 5.0 uses vector graphics to dynamically draw the map on your device as you use it, allowing you to interact with it in new 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.

In addition to the 3D interaction, there's also offline reliability, so you can find your way even if you lose your connection.
In the past, you’ve probably had frustrating moments when you get stranded without a map, whether ducking into the subway, sitting at the back of a restaurant or traveling anywhere with a flaky Internet connection. But dynamically drawing maps requires 100 times less data to get maps across all zoom levels, so now we’re able to proactively cache (or store) large areas on your device based on where you use Maps the most. This way, you can rely on having fast, robust maps available to you where you’re most likely to need them.
If you’re one of the more than 10 million people relying on Google Maps Navigation (Beta), Google Maps Navigation now automatically reroutes you, even if you lose your connection. You’ll still need a connection to start a route, but if you miss a turn along the way, it will quickly get you back on track, even if you don’t have an Internet connection. Google will be rolling this feature out gradually over the next few weeks.

You can download the Google Maps for mobile 5.0 by searching for Google Maps in Android Market. Android 1.6+ devices can get Maps 5.0, but 3D and offline features require Android 2.0+, and some features may not be supported for all devices or countries.

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