The Android team announced today in a post over at Google+ that Google’s mapping service on Android won the Best Consumer Mobile Service Award at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain. For mobile users, the Google Maps mobile app, including Google’s other location and mapping offerings, is a reason alone to get an Android handset as many would not be able to get around without it. Though Apple also has a native iOS Maps app that taps into the Google Maps backend, and Google itself provides a surprisingly capable web app, Google Maps for mobile looks and works best on Android smartphones. Perhaps not surprisingly, the latest and greatest Maps features début on Android first. For example: Advanced (and free) turn-by-turn GPS navigation for driving, and walking and public transit directions with 3D views that integrate nicely with Google’s other location-based services like Latitude and Places.

In case you were wondering, the Device Manufacturer of the Year award went to Samsung, which also got the Best Smartphone award for the Galaxy S II. New features in Google’s location-based products are now introducing regularly. The latest update to the Google Maps for Android app brought improved transit navigation and more accurate positioning and indoor maps. Google has a nice interactive overview of Google Maps for newbies here.

Having recently recently acquired a Foursquare-like leaderboards, the Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered search giant has baked those into the Latitude service. On desktop front, Google Maps recently added gorgeous street-view level imagery of Russia’s famous landmarks and cities. As for the state of Android, Google said at the MWC 2012 show that there are now more than 450,000 Android apps available for download on Android Market with 850,000 Android devices activated on average day. In case you missed MWC news, check out our round-up of the most important Google announcements.


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