Google Updates iPhone Maps So You Can Find Places, Friends

Google(NEW YORK) -- Have you ever gone to a new city and had trouble finding your way around, cursing as you look at pages upon pages of search results to find a restaurant for dinner or just a quick place to grab a cup of coffee and a Danish?

Google hopes to lend a helping hand.

On Tuesday, Google announced an update for its Google Maps app for iPhone to include new search icons that, the company said, will make it easier to find places and look up saved friends’ addresses. Released Tuesday morning, it can now be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

These features have been available already for Android, but iPhone users had to look up the address of a specific destination, and type it into the search bar. Now, users will be presented with icons for restaurants, coffee shops, bars and gas stations, which they can tap to search quickly for nearby locations.

In total, there are 13 different types of places users can search by, including hotels, hospitals and ATMs.

“So if you’re in a rush and need a quick coffee, just tap the search box, then the coffee cup icon, to see the cafes closest to you,” Google said in a blog post.

The new update also makes it possible for users to look up their friends’ addresses by typing their names in the search box. If users have saved their friends’ addresses in Google Contacts, the app will show them in the search results.

The update also integrated Google Contacts into the Google Maps app. This means users who have their friends’ addresses saved in their Google Contacts can now look up where their friends live by simply typing a friend’s name in the app’s search box. The address will then pop up on the map, making it easy to get to that Saturday night house party.

This is the first major update to the Google Maps app since it was released in December.  The road to a user-friendly maps feature has been far from smooth for iPhone and other iOS devices.

When Apple released the iPhone 5 and its iOS operating system in September, it replaced Google Maps with its own Maps app. However, widespread criticism over glitches, including misplaced historic places of interest and jumbled locations, forced the company to bring back Google’s mapping service.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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