Google adds biking directions to free sat nav

But the UK just gets a boring new icon

Google has updated its mobile maps application to version 4.2 to now include directions for your bike too.

Sadly only for the US, you can select the bike icon when getting directions to get an optimal bicycling route for Android phones packing 1.6 or above (still not the Hero, sadly).

For a more scenic ride, you'll also see the bike layer on the map which shows dedicated bike-only trails (dark green), roads with bike lanes (light green), or roads that are good for biking but lack a dedicated lane (dashed green).

There's also a dedicated icon for the Navigation function too, so if you want to use your phone as a free sat nav then you won't have to go through the palaver of powering up Google Maps just to point your car at the shops.

Share and share alike

The options there are pretty simple - you either enter your destination by speech or typing it in, and also navigate to any of your contacts with geo-location data enabled.

You can also share the location with your friends, which is obviously very helpful if you're all trying to drive to some place to meet up - when you've chosen where you're off too, simply click to send the location via email or SMS.

There's also the option to share a snapshot of where you are in the same way, or use Latitude to broadcast the results to all those in your network - the Google world is your oyster.


Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.