Gone are the days when maps were used to just figure out directions to destinations. Thanks to innovative thinkers at Google, electronic maps can do much more than configure convenient routes and provide traffic information.

Google has come out with an updated version of Google Maps for iOS users. The update enables iOS users to check two new aspects in their neighbourhood: automobile fuel prices and busy shopping hours at stores. Although this version was made available to Android users in September, iOS users had to wait for a few more months before they too could avail of the newer features of the updated version.

The update allows iOS users to check into "rush hours" at stores around them. The advantage of this feature is that it's not limited to just retail stores. It allows users to check into busy hours at other kinds of business outlets as well. For instance, iPhone users can now check the busiest times at gyms, cafe, restaurants, grocery stores, malls and any other place of business.

The update seems to be ideal for all those last minute Christmas shoppers on the lookout for information on stores. In addition, Google has expanded its "Local Guides" program to include feedback questions from users, which will help determine the social scene of a business. For instance, users are asked questions like "is it quiet here?" or "is the place family friendly?" This helps further determine the social setting of the business as well.

Another feature of the update provides users with the ability to check current automobile fuel prices. This particular feature also encourages users to add a stop to the map along their regular route. The stop could be a cafe, a grocery store or even a petrol station. On the way to their nearest fuel station, users can check current prices and decide on how much to fill up.

Although Google has made no major announcements on releasing the update, most iOS users are bound to enjoy this surprise "Christmas present". The iOS updated version of Google Maps is now available on the Itunes App Store.