Do you know that 2020 marks the 15th anniversary for Google Maps? To celebrate this anniversary, Google Maps gets a new makeover and some additional features. You would have already noted the change in the icon. But, that is not the only change to the app.
Let’s read in detail about the new features and exciting elements about the app.
For starters, Google Maps is an Android app for online mapping and routing services. The app is suitable for both Android and iOS users. Google introduced the app in 2005 as a primary navigation tool, with just direction and map features. With frequent updates and changes over the past 15 years, Google has changed this application into a complete online travel and entertainment assistant. In 2020, it is going to the next stage too.
The overall look of the app is new and refreshing. As per the latest update, the application has an expanded view at the bottom. The app had just three tabs in the past, and now, you can see five tabs, namely,
Explore is quite the same. It helps the user identify his needs by highlighting areas that he should check out like restaurants, shops, tourist sites, and so on. This tool is the general map feature, which the developers have not changed much.
The Commute is the tab for finding driving routes, distances, and estimated time. It has retained all the older features like traffic updates, step by step routing, and others. Many new features are now a part of this tab after the update. Let us see about that in detail later in the article.
As the name mentions, it is the tab where you can find your saved list of destinations. For instance, if you are searching for a couple of restaurants, you can save all the results in this tab for comparing or for future use. This ‘save’ option is not a new feature. The ‘saved’ menu was a part of the menu tab on the left upper corner. Now, it is out in the interface for easy usage. Besides, one can categorize and organize this list based on individual preferences. Users can also share the list of saved locations with other users.
In the past, Google Maps looked out for volunteers to comment for the destinations, answer a few questions about the destination, and rate it. It was under the name ‘Your Contribution’, which allowed you to share photos, answer questions, and so on. When users contribute, they get points, which allows the users to earn free subscriptions to apps like Google One. Now, there is a separate tab for it. You can give a star rating to the destination, answer pre-programmed questions like ‘is there a restroom attached’; ‘are pets allowed,’ and so on.
It is a trending update of the app. This tab gives you a gist of must-see spots around you. From this tab, the user can also communicate with the businesses listed in Google Maps, allowing users to find their requirements with fewer steps and lesser effort. From business-owners point of view, this tab gives better visibility of the business to local customers, which is quite essential to stay sustained in the market.
Now that we discussed the new overlook let us see the added features in the application. Some of the updates are straightforward and easy to spot, while some are a little less obvious. As mentioned before, let us talk about the updates in the commute tab.
Google mentioned that it worked heavily over the past years on the tab to add more features. In the last year, the app gave details about crowd levels in public transportation based on the other user’s data. For instance, if you are planning to take a bus to a required destination, the app will collect information from the passengers on that bus to check the crowd level. With the number of GPS sources and comments of users on that bus, the app can determine the crowd on the bus. This app feature came out a year ago, based on the idea of using Google Maps for determining the crowd in restaurants, stores, and other areas (this feature came out in 2007). With the new update, Google Maps can provide additional information apart from the crowd factor and other transit features, like:
1. The temperature in the public transport vehicle
2. Features like wheelchair accessibility
3. security levels that you can look out for
This new feature will give the app an advantageous competitive edge over the other online mapping applications.
It is a new AR-based walking assistant, which the company has connected to the Maps app. This assistant is a part of the map application since the last year. However, during this update, Google has introduced new features to it. The company also promises that there will be more updates and enhancements shortly. The most notable improvement that you should look forward to is the feature, which can help you calculate the distance based on the direction you are viewing. This additional feature is a boon for travelers who have no idea which direction to move.
Geographic specific attributes
Google has customized the app to provide geographic-specific attributes of public transportation too. For instance, Japan gets a piece of additional information about public transportation to see how many train carriages are available in the route, whether there is any women-only section in the public transportation, and so on.
Last but not least, the icon of the Google Map application is now the pin that you plant on the map.
With these updates, it is safe to say that Google has used its collective knowledge of 15 years of service to redesign the application into a better tool for the users. According to users, the most commonly welcomed addition is the transit attributes like wheelchair accessibility, which turns out to be a real boon to travelers around the world.
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