A New Look for Google Maps
Google made a big announcement at its I/O conference yesterday in San Francisco. The ever popular Google Maps has received a makeover. The search giant previewed its new mapping service yesterday and shared how it will have a different look and include some new features. Including offering customized maps and smarter navigation, the new maps also have a sleek, new design. The new Google Maps was made available for the general public to view today.
According to Mashable, Google Maps is now giving you more ways to look at a destination. There is a satellite photo icon that will bring up the Google Earth view, you can have a look at the street view for most areas and for places that support it, you can even go inside some buildings. On top of this, for any location, you now have a scrolling menu of images. The images are ones that have been take by Google, public images uploaded to Google+ and Picasa and from Photo Spheres taken by Android users. Some of the photos are not single images but photo tours that are user-generated. This is really interesting since you can get tours of the same place from various users therefore seeing different angles and times of the years.
The search function also looks different with the new Maps. Now, search widgets are in the upper left side of the screen and your last 3 searches can be shown. When searching for a particular type of venue, like restaurants, you can see highlighted venues that have reviews from your friends and those that are highly rated. When you click on a venue, you now see an information card that has the venue’s contact information and opening hours. You’ll also see a navigation icon for directions and a start icon to save the location. In addition to this, Google Maps now learns your preferences and makes recommendations. So the next time you visit a new city, Google will recommend places to go based on your preferences and those of people with similar tastes. The maps will change in real-time as well. So if you click on a museum, the other museums in the city will appear on the map. Choose a museum, and the map will change so that the small roads and landmarks needed to navigate to that museum appear, and other street names fade away showing the way.
There are so many really cool features with the new Maps. Get coupons for particular types of businesses when you search for them, get real time information on accidents, find the fastest route to your destination whether it’s by bike, car or public transport, get up to date schedules for public transport, and get the latest road conditions. The new Google Maps seems to see everything. In fact, while Google engineers were testing the maps in recent weeks, they noticed a black smear on the Earth and the sun. They soon discovered that this was not a problem with the map but an eclipse on the other side of the world in real time. By starting at the conference yesterday, Google plans on slowing introducing the new Maps. You can now sign up online to have a preview but it’s only now available on desktops. Google will be updating its iPhone and Android apps soon.
This new Google Maps seems amazing and it’s great that it is so personalized. I’m looking forward to getting recommendations when I’m looking for restaurants while travelling. With all these new innovations, I’m curious to see what else will be announced in the remaining days at the I/O conference. What do you think Google will come up with next?
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