Maps+ For iOS Reviewed: Do We Need More Maps?
Google Maps is more than just a single service with a client app. It can do much more. But the official client doesn’t unveil the full potential of this global giant. Maybe third-party apps will be more suitable for some users.
One of such apps called Maps+ has some extra features based on Google Maps possibilities. This app is available for both iPhone and iPad.
The basic feature set of this app is similar to Google Maps. You can see any place of Earth that’s been tracked by Google (that is, almost all the surface of the Earth). The map can be displayed in different modes: map, street view, satellite view. There are also auxiliary layers: traffic, tweets with location info, hybrid mode that contains all the other basic levels.
You can access panorama view of selected objects and see them as if you were on the street near it. Panorama can be zoomed in and out; it looks quite detailed except for dimmed faces of the people and just as good as in original Google apps.
It may be a subjective feeling but when you zoom the map in or out Maps+ seems better and faster at it that Google Maps. Yes, we will compare these apps constantly as they’re based on the same service but provide different levels of comfort.
Another Layer over Google’s One
The app has a global feel right from the beginning. Wherever you are and whatever place you’re looking over you can see all the names and info in several languages in English and the local language. So you can search objects by its name in any language. There can be exceptions.
For example, in France the names are displayed in French only, but if you search some Parisian object by its English name (like the Eiffel Tower), you will get the correct result. By the way, the interface of the app itself is also available in most popular languages.
If you enter your search request into the search field the app suggests some auto completion options. It’s especially useful when you’re not sure about the exact spelling of the object. The official app by the search titan doesn’t offer this.
What can you do?
There’s also voice search which based on Google’s engine but it looks much more versatile. It can help people with myopia or those not sure about objects’ spelling.
Another option is constant tracking of your location. You may share the place you’re at any moment, so it’ll be easier for your friends to find you. Remember: this feature needs constant access to your location services, so prepare your external battery or connect to the power source!
You can set bookmarks by long tapping on the spot. The bookmarks can be easily accessed by the icon in the left upper corner. The bookmarks look like pins on the map. These pins look a bit nostalgic and totally material. You can move them manually, select the color, or add descriptions.
Alas, the free version allows only 3 simultaneous bookmarks. There’s no such limitation in the official Google Maps, by the way. Maps+ also beats the official one at routing. It calculates routes faster than Google Maps and makes fewer mistakes and errors.
Your mobile life
Today’s maps should never be static. Life is whirling around and maps should display that. You’re moving and maps react to this. One of the most useful features is location-based reminders. They are set not by a certain time but by a certain location.
For example, you may set the reminder to buy something when you’re close to the store you need or remind yourself to go meet someone when you’re around their place. When you approach the spot you get notified.
Twitter integration is also rather visual. You’ll see bubbles on the map as if the place itself is speaking. Tap on that bubble to read the tweet. Of course, you’ll have to give Maps+ access to your Twitter account.
It may sound a bit disappointing, but there’s no opportunity to authorize with Google account. Your Google bookmarks, searches, routes and saved places remain unavailable from Maps+. You may customize your map from the beginning instead.
Not As Free As It Could Have Been
The plus in the app’s name doesn’t mean enhanced possibilities and added features only. Yes, it has it all, but you’ll have to pay for most extras. The developers are smart enough not to suggest someone will buy separate features so they suggest you buy the full version once and get full access to all features and options, like Twitter integration, unlimited bookmarks, geo reminders and so on.
The bottom line
It’s up to you to consider if that Plus is worth a slight minus in your pocket. Unfortunately, recently the developers rolled out the update with some functional regression. For example, they disabled the advanced tracking, turn-by-turn instructions and a button that shows or hides pins.
It’s still unknown whether they will bring it all back, but it’s for sure now that it’s not that simple with this app. But still, the total comfort level, reworked search system and, oh, those pins make Maps+ a good choice to consider.
What do you think about Maps+? Let us know in the comments!