Palm Pre Gains a Google Maps Boost?

Admittedly, I haven’t used Google Maps (s goog) on my Palm Pre (s palm) in a long while, so it’s difficult to see what might be new. PreCentral reports that Google quietly updated the Maps application for webOS, however. The software does appear to render much faster to me, so they could be on to something. I also don’t remember seeing kinetic scrolling nor the separate little “Menu” button that now appears at the bottom right, either. Tapping it takes you to the same menu structure found in the Apple (s aapl) and Android versions of Google Maps — it offers options for Traffic, Directions, Search, Map and Satellite view. This menu system was on the Pre before today, but it appears slightly tweaked.

There’s no mention of any changes on the Google Maps Blog so there might be other goodies tucked in there, just waiting to be found. PreCentral is pining for Google Navigation in webOS, but I’m quite happy with the included Sprint Navigation service. I also don’t know which platform Google would devote navigation efforts to first: iPhone or webOS. I suspect it would be the iPhone simply due to the sheer number of handsets out there. While Google is battling Apple in the mobile operating space, having Google Navigation on iPhone can benefit Google by gathering more information on where people are going and how they’re getting there.