Android Wear gets its own Google Maps app in latest update

BY Killian Bell

Published 20 May 2015

Google Maps app on Android Wear

Google has rolled out an update for Google Maps on Android that gives Android Wear its very own Maps app. In addition to displaying your current location, the app can help you find places nearby, and provide turn-by-turn navigation.

AndroidCentral, which was first to notice the app, reports that it is installed on your Wear watch automatically when you update to the version 9.9 Google Maps release. You’ll then find a Maps icon in your watch’s launcher, or you can summon it by saying the “open Maps” command.

Once inside the Maps app, you can scroll around, use pinch-to-zoom, and switch between true north and device direction views. There are also dedicated zoom buttons that might be more useful to users who find pinch-to-zoom is difficult on a small screen.

Maps on Wear also has its own ambient setting, so maps and directions will remain on its face in black and white if you have ambient display active, and tapping the drop-pin button will provide you with a list of places nearby. If you want to search for something specifically, you’ll need to do that on your phone.

Maps on Wear may be incredibly useful for some, but right now, it’s not too helpful.

“Aside from the handful of reboots of our phone and watch that were necessary just to get it to run, the app still seems rather unstable,” AndroidCentral reports. “Several times in just a few minutes of playing with the app it has failed to respond or open up navigation properly.”

It could be that the app needs a newer version of Google Play Services that hasn’t been rolled out yet, or just some performance and stability fixes. But for now, at least, don’t expect Maps on Wear to replace Google Maps on your smartphone.

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