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Google Maps vs. HERE Maps Free Download – Two of the Best Android Mapping Apps Compared

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Google Maps is arguably the best mapping service there is today.

This is true because Nokia HERE Maps also has something to prove to the mapping world and something to teach Google as well. Whether this move by Nokia HERE Maps will be successful is hard to tell, but only time can tell.

Here’s a closer look at how Google Maps compare with Nokia HERE Maps.

While Nokia HERE Maps is a famous app among users of Windows Phone, especially the Lumia series of smartphones, Google Maps is common on the Android platforms and it even features as a default application for this mobile OS. However, HERE Maps has grown to become very popular and this can be attributed to the continued popularity of the Lumia smartphones. Furthermore, this mapping application is equipped with a few key strengths that make using Google Maps feel a little old. Users of Android can now access the latest version of Nokia HERE Maps from the official Google Play Store for free.

Map layout and settings options

When talking about the layout of the map; there are almost no differences between HERE Maps and Google Maps. The only thing you’ll notice is that HERE Maps look fresher and more upbeat when compared to Google Maps. However, both mapping applications come with a fold-out page with numerous settings.

Google Maps seems to be equipped with more options in the settings than HERE Maps. The former app has finer adjustments to the information displayed as it includes traffic, bike paths, transit, terrain and satellite images. On the other hand, Nokia HERE only has satellite images, public transportation and transport.

Zoom levels and 3-Dimensional views

Google Maps has a better zoom level than Nokia HERE maps. Furthermore, this Google-based mapping application boasts further integration of Google Street View as well as Google Earth services. The former feature, which can be exceptionally useful when needed, is what the HERE Maps sadly lack.

There is something similar about the operation of the two apps. When you tap on the map, a card shows up at the bottom of your screen and in this card you can see more detailed information about the tapped area. Swiping on the screen with your two fingers lowers the ‘bird’s eye view’ perspective and turns everything into 3D mode, which is easier for navigation. You can enjoy Google Maps in landscape mode, something that is missing on Nokia HERE maps.

Navigation and planning your route

Both HERE and Google Maps are functionally good as far as finding a connection between two places is concerned. Google Maps provides you with more detailed and clearer information on navigation that include footpaths, route by car, public transportation as well as cyclists. On the other hand, Nokia HERE maps offers pretty much the same options, but lacks information for those on bicycles as far as route planning is concerned. On the contrary, you’ll get better adjustments when calculating or rather planning for the route to take, with HERE maps, than you do with Google Maps. For example, if you are driving and you want to avoid toll roads or unpaved ones.

Both apps have similar ways of navigation, however, Nokia HERE maps misses out on navigation from above. This is quite a disappointment for this mapping application as this ability offers one of the best overviews. On the other hand, Google Maps is equipped with a bird’s eye view as well as traditional street view.

One huge plus for Nokia HERE maps is that it can be used offline, something that Google is trying to implement into its mapping platform. When online again, both apps will provide you with the detailed traffic information that include any road construction activities that may be taking place on your route, congestions and other traffic information. So, you can expect the best from both apps when it comes to navigation and planning of your route.

Offline use

As noted above, Nokia HERE Maps has one huge plus over Google Maps and that is the ability to work offline. This means that you can save your phone’s data and battery life. It is possible to download any map on HERE Maps and save it for offline use, be it a country, a state or even a whole continent.

Even though Google Maps has the ability to save a map in its cache for later use when offline, it only manages small sections of a map and the cache will be refreshed after a month, meaning the saved map will be cleared. You won’t be able to access the navigation as well as route planning functions of Google Maps when offline, something that is possible with HERE Maps.

Information

This is where the big difference is. Google Maps has the advantage of being attached to a leading search engine and as such, it has a wider reach of information than Nokia HERE. You’ll get details about shops, hotels, restaurants and very other detailed information about them including opening and closing times, reviews, photos and so much more. You can even get the phone numbers of these shops and hotels from Google Maps.

Even though Nokia HERE Maps offers a substantial amount of information about a place, it is not as detailed as Google’s. Furthermore, while Google Maps will give you an actual phone number of any random shop or hotel, HERE Maps only provides select phone numbers. You can also explore an area with Google Maps, a dimension that has completely lacked from the end of Nokia HERE.

So, which mapping application is best for you?