Google Maps gets updated, gets NFC support

The Google Maps app has been updated today. If you take a look at the “what’s new” tab, you will see that the update reduced app storage size with downloads for different screen resolutions; but that’s not all. Also tucked away in this update is NFC support, presumably for the upcoming Beam feature that is available in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The updated Google Maps apps requests access to a new permission called Control NFC, which “Allows an application to communicate with Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, cards, and readers. So technically, the change log doesn’t say that the update enables the Beam feature found in Android 4.0, but it sure looks like it. Why else would Google Maps needs NFC access?

Beam is a new feature in Ice Cream Sandwich that allows you to share information between phones by simply placing the phones together and taping on the screen. This sharing of information is possible thanks to Near Field Communication, or NFC for short.

The Beam feature of Ice Cream Sandwich was demoed during the unveiling on Tuesday night. If you haven’t watched that video yet, you can do so now.

To download the updated Google Maps, head to the Android Market or scan the QR code below.

[qrcode size=”150″][/qrcode]
(How to use QR codes)
Android Market Link