Google has rolled out an updated version of Google Maps for Android phones with a couple of new features. The biggest change is that you can now get biking directions along with directions for driving, walking, or public transit. This comes just two months after Google rolled out biking directions for the desktop/web version of Google Maps.

On the one hand, I can’t really see holding my phone while riding a bicycle to see where I’m going — but the biking directions work with GPS, which means you can have your phone speak out loud to you and let you know when it’s time to turn left. Of course, you can also just use the app to plot a course in advance. Google Maps 4.2 also shows bike-only trails in dark green, roads with bike lanes in light green, and roads that don’t have dedicated bike lanes, but which are still good for bicycling in a green dotted line.

You can also use the Terrain layer to see whether the rid is going to be hilly or flat.

Google has also added a new Navigation shortcut which lets you fire up the Google Maps Navigation feature with one click instead of opening Google Maps and then selecting navigation.

The third major update in Google Maps 4.2 is the ability to share search results by clicking “Share this place” to send information to your contacts via text message, email, Twitter, Facebook, or other method — depending on what you’ve got installed on your phone. For example, since I have the WordPress app for Android on my phone, that shows up in the Share this place menu.

Google Maps 4.2 is available for download from the Android Market for Android 1.6 and up.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...