Google Maps Android update adds location-sharing, bike routes

Google has just pushed out its latest update to the Android version of Google Maps, which adds a slew of new functionality including the ability to instantly post location info to social networking sites.

When users search for a place on Google Maps, whether it’s a specific address, cross-street, or restaurant name, there’s a new button called “share this place” that posts the location info to Google Buzz, Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail or SMS.

Users can also send a snapshot of Google Maps indicating their current location. Google is stepping up to the new trend of location-sharing, in a way that’s simple and appealing to users who no longer have to download a third-party app to do the same thing. Additionally, the update adds biking directions to the list of driving, walking, and public transit info. Biking directions are similar to walking directions but it also includes topography information and calculates routes with specialized bike lanes where applicable. And finally, Google has pulled out its “Navigation” (GPS directions) feature from Google Maps and turned it into its own app. The new Navigation app lets users create “starred” destinations, allows them to easily get directions to contacts stored in the phone, and offers a voice command option to speak the address or name of the destination.