Google has launched an updated version of Google Maps for Android, and as expected it includes a couple of pretty awesome updates. The first thing you’ll notice about Google Maps 5 for Mobile is that it now supports much smoother scrolling, thanks to vector-based graphics and caching. But that’s just the tip of th eicerberg.

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There’s also support for 3D building views. Just touch the screen with two fingers and drag down to see a 3D version of the map you’re looking at.

Google has added a compass mode, which adjust the map view depending on the position you’re holding the phone. Just double-tap the My location button to turn it into a compass button.

On supported phones, you can also change your viewing angle by rotating with two fingers — but this feature doesn’t work on my Google Nexus One.

Because Google Maps can now cache some map data, the app can reroute directions when you’re using the free Navigation service as long as you’re in an area where you’ve traveled before. There’s also a setting allowing you to enable or disable caching while you’re on a mobile data connection. When you’re on a WiFi connection, caching is enabled by default.

Google Maps 5 for Android is available as a free download from the Android Market.

Brad Linder

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

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