Google Maps is turning 15 this year and with that, Google has announced a slight redesign of the app and added new features to one of its most used popular apps across the globe. More than 1 billion people now turn to Google Maps to see and explore the world, the company said.
In addition to a couple of fresh features, the giant search engine is also rolling out a new icon for the app. Before we get to the features, let's first talk about the icon redesign. One of the significant changes is actually the icon, which has seen a series of transitions from the classic map intersection icon just like that of a new Google-hued pin on a white background, which more closely matches Google’s other application branding.
Check out the whole transition in this video released by Google:
Google has dominated the market for navigation apps in recent years but the latest updates seem to be aimed at staying ahead of challengers including from Apple, which recently revamped its own Apple Maps application. The earlier solid-red "pins" pointing out map locations is now made up of the four colors used in other Google logos.
"Starting today, you'll see an updated Google Maps app for Android and iOS that gives you everything you need at your fingertips with five easy-to-access tabs: Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute and Updates," shared Google in their blog post.
Here's a lowdown on the various new and upgraded features as Google celebrates 15 years of Google Maps:
-Explore tab: The Explore Tab ffers reviews and details regarding restaurants, shops, theaters and other venues, taking advantage of location-sensing capabilities in your Android and iOS smartphones.
-Commute tab: This tab will make sure to provide efficient routes to or from work whether people are driving or using public transit. It will also set up your daily commute to get real-time traffic updates, travel times and suggestions for alternative routes
-Saved: Saved tab will give the user access to more than 6.5 billion places saved by Google Maps users. One can also share recommendations of the places that you have been with others.
-Contribute: The new Google Maps look introduces a "Contribute" tab to a menu at the bottom of the service's mobile app, Google said in a blog post. With the new Contribute tab, you can easily share local knowledge, such as details about roads and addresses, missing places, photos etc to help others looking for recommendations.
-Updates: This is another useful tab that will help you in being up to date with the trending spots around you. In addition to discovering, saving and sharing recommendations with your network, you can also directly chat with businesses to get questions answered, adds Google.
Other features include a fun party themed car icon to real time directions that can be seen using augmented reality. This feature will specifically be a boon to pedestrian traffic. The app will essentially use augmented reality to show routes in real-time. The use of camera will also provide better visibility to the traveler.
Google has more than one billion monthly active users for its app, and has mapped more than 220 countries and territories as well aoffers live traffic updates in 171 countries.
Last year, Google added a feature that predicts how crowded a bus, train or subway is likely to be.
Transit tidbits have been enhanced to include whether buses or trains tend to be hot or cold; accommodations for people with disabilities, and whether there is security on board.
However, everything has not really been a cake walk for Google Maps. The app has earlier been a target for disinformation, and Google said it took down some three million fake business profiles entered by users in 2018 alone.