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Google Maps for iPhone updated with contacts integration and improved local search results

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Google Maps for iPhone
Google Maps for iPhone

The new Google Maps for iPhone is an all-around excellent mapping app, but Google just released an update that improves its polish a bit, particularly if you're already invested in the company's ecosystem. If you have addresses added to your Google contacts, you can now directly search for those contacts in the app and get directions to their location. This was one of the only major missing features in the iOS Google Maps, so we're glad to see it corrected — address book information has always been integrated into the default mapping app on the iPhone. Of course, this only works if your Google account's contact info is up to date, so take a minute to check on that if you're going to give this a shot.

Another nice change is deeper integration of local data — after tapping on the search bar, you can select one of 13 different categories (bars, grocery stores, movie theaters, coffee shops, and so forth) and the map will show you all locations nearby that meet those criteria. You can either view the results on the map itself or through a nice list view that integrates Zagat ratings, hours, and Google reviews, and you can still pull up from the bottom of the screen to get even deeper detail on a particular location. These features aren't revolutionary, but they definitely help improve an app that was already one of our favorites. Google's rolling the app out to more users today, as well. The English-language app is available in seven new countries, and users can now choose between miles and kilometers in the settings menu. The update is available now in the iTunes App Store.