Google Maps for Android's recent update added a ton of tiny but useful changes. Chief among them, the persistent notification you see while using Navigation now has a new look that makes it much easier to tell where you're going. In previous versions of Google Maps, if you launched Navigation and then left the app, the notification you'd see was visually identical to other notifications. This made it hard to tell at a glance where you were going. Now, the notification is bright green and has obvious direction arrows for each turn. This is so much nicer.
The new app also has a toggle to automatically download map areas. With this switch activated, Google will detect the areas you're in most frequently and automatically download the areas. Those map downloads make it possible to search and use navigation even when your connection sucks, so it's nice they're automating the process. If you want to try out the new version, you can either wait for it to rollout or download it from APK Mirror. Read more about the other changes below.