Google Maps 2.0: Live traffic info, iPad support, and more Zagat reviews

Google says it plans to roll out its Google Maps 2.0 software over the next few weeks. 

The new Google Maps is here.

On Wednesday, Google took the wraps off Google Maps 2.0, the latest iteration of its popular map app. 

Unlike the original Google Maps, the 2.0 iteration offers native support for the iPad, with larger Street View imagery. But we're willing to bet that most users will access the new Maps app on their smart phone, and here too the upgraded software does not disappoint. There are turn-by-turn bike directions (a big plus for the millions of pedal-powered commuters around the world) and real-time traffic information. 

According to Google, Maps 2.0 will regularly refresh with news of accidents or roadwork, and re-route the user accordingly. Where exactly will this traffic information come from? Well, in a blog post announcing the feature, Google didn't specify. But perhaps in the future, the company plans to lean more heavily on Waze, the Israeli crowd-sourced mapping app it acquired earlier this year. 

Google Maps 2.0 will also include reviews from Zagat (another Google property) and something called Explore, a kind of randomized discovery engine. 

"Not sure what you’re looking for? Explore is a fast and easy way to visually browse and discover new places without typing a single letter," Daniel Graf, the director of Google Maps, wrote on the Lat Long blog. "Simply tap the search box and you’ll see cards showing great local places to eat, drink, shop, play, and sleep." 

The app will begin rolling out over the "next few weeks" through the Google Play store, Mr. Graf said. In the meantime, we'll point you to a report filed by Katherine Boehret of the Wall Street Journal, who recently took a spin on the new software. 

"Google Maps is richer and more engaging than its predecessor," she wrote. "Its content is enough to suck you in so much that it might make you arrive late at your destination, so be sure to add a few minutes to your estimated trip time."

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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