Google Maps 5.0 for Android is here, and it makes every other maps app—including older Google Maps and Google Maps on the iPhone—seem straight-up Stone Age. Just watch.
Google's fundamentally changed the underlying architecture of Google Maps with 5.0—before it was tile-based, but now it's all done with vector graphics to dynamically draw the maps, so Maps uses around 100x less data than before. Which means:
• Maps loads faster
• Zooming is ultra-smooth, not point-by-point
• It can cache a lot of the map online, and it does, as you can see in the video, which was shot entirely offline. We're talking multiple zoom levels and a decent chunk of city geography. It'll even download fresh map data overnight while connected to Wi-Fi for places that you look up a lot in maps, Google tells us.
• 3D buildings for 100 cities
• 3D compass
• Two new gestures: two-finger swipe to tilt the map and twist to rotate