Google Maps for iPhone received its first significant update today, with new features that are designed to improve in-app search, making it easier to find relevant place information. Google Maps now lets you search your Google Contacts within the app, meaning if you use Google as your primary address book you’ll now be able to call up addresses even if they’re not stored locally on your phone, and the new location categories make it easier to browse nearby businesses even if you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for.
The app’s changes are welcome additions to the iOS version of Google’s Maps app, and make it an even more full-featured replacement for the stock Apple Maps software included in iOS 6. The new Nearby Places section makes it so that if you’re using the app as a navigation tool in an unfamiliar place, it’s much more of a discovery method. That’s something makers of competitive apps like WhereTo should take note of.
Still missing from the app is an iPad-optimized version, however, which is likely among the top-desired features list for many users. Get on that Google, I want to windshield mount my iPad mini and call it a day already.