Google has recently updated Google Maps in Android Market with a number of changes, but chief among them is NFC support. It is speculated that the NFC update to Google Maps will be to support Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich‘s Android Beam feature, which will allow NFC-equipped Android phones that are close in proximity to each other to share content, such as web pages, address book contacts, and more.
With Google’s interest in local places and destinations, it is speculated that an NFC-compatible Google Maps will help the Internet search giant and Android-maker the ability to allow users to share local destinations, including local shops, restaurants, and businesses easily and quickly.
NFC, also called near field communications, technology is allowing for devices within close range to communicate with each other. One application of NFC that’s gaining momentum is the digital wallet, where users can link a compatible credit or debit card to their smartphone and pay for physical goods in retail locations by holding their phone up to a compatible NFC reader rather than have to carry a wallet and swipe their credit card through a processing machine. With NFC-equipped Google Maps, users can share information about local businesses and visit their newly discovered destinations, shop, and pay for goods all on their Android smartphone.
Google has still not detailed its plans for NFC support for Google Maps on Android smartphone, but for that feature to work, users would need an NFC-equipped phone, like the Samsung Nexus S or the Galaxy Nexus.
The main changelog for the recent Google Maps update shows that locally stored map information will now occupy less storage space.