Launched in 2005, Google Maps has now turned 15, and the company is celebrating the 15th anniversary by introducing a new look and a few product updates based on users’ feedback. Google says that it has pushed the limits of what a map can do – from easily navigating from point A to B to getting things done in the real world. And there are now more than 1 billion people who use Google Maps to see and explore the world.
Google Maps new look
Users will now see an updated Google Maps app for Android and iOS with five easy-to-access tabs: Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute, and Updates.
Explore: In the Explore tab, users will be able to find information, ratings, reviews, and more about around 200 million places around the world, including local restaurants, nearby attractions, and city landmarks.
Commute: The Commute tab will continue to offer the most efficient routes for your daily commutes. Whether you commute by car or public transport, you can set up your daily commute to get real-time traffic updates, travel times, and suggestions for alternative routes.
Saved: Google says that people have saved more than 6.5 billion places, including bakeries and restaurants, on Google Maps. Users will now be able to view all of these spots in one place and can find and make plans for upcoming trips and share recommendations based on places they've visited.
Contribute: With the new Contribute tab, users can easily share information about local places, such as details about roads and addresses, missing places, business reviews, and photos. Millions of people each year contribute information that helps keep Google Maps up to date.
Updates: The new Updates tab provides users with a feed of trending, must-see spots from local experts and publishers. In addition to discovering, saving, and sharing recommendations with your contacts, you can also directly chat with businesses to get questions answered.
Google Maps is also getting a new logo. According to Dane Glasgow, Vice President of Product, Google Maps, the new icon reflects the company’s revolutionary contribution in terms of mapping the world. ‘It’s based on a key part of Google Maps since the very beginning – the pin – and represents the shift we’ve made from getting you to your destination to also helping you discover new places and experiences,’ Glasgow added. Users will also be able to see a celebratory party-themed car icon during navigation. The car will be available for a limited time.
Google Maps has a feature that helps commuters stay informed when they are taking public transport. Last year, the company introduced crowdedness predictions to help users see how crowded a bus, a train, or a subway is likely to be based on past rides. This helps users plan their commute. Google is now adding more insights about such routes from past riders, so commuters will able to see important details, such as:
Temperature: It will help commuters to know whether the temperature is considered by past riders as colder or warmer.
Accessibility: This will help people, who need additional support, in identifying public transit lines with staffed assistance, accessible entrance and seating, and accessible stop-button or hi-visible LED.
Women’s Section: As the name suggests, this feature will show information about the regions where transit systems have designated women's sections or carriages.
Security Onboard: People will be able to inform other commuters about security in an area, like whether there’s a security guard, installed security cameras, or an available helpline.
Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has posted an image on Instagram, sharing a list of his favourite veggie burrito restaurants around the world using the mapping service. He also mentioned his traveling expereinces. ‘In places like where I grew up in India, there wasn't always a clear structure to the address system. That meant giving an auto-rickshaw driver a landmark, like a hotel, and then as I got close, popping my head out to ask for directions to the actual destination,’ he said sharing his childhood memories.
‘I had arrived in Mumbai in the early morning hours and jumped into a cab to get to a friend's house which was difficult to locate. Using Google Maps, I was able to give the driver turn-by-turn directions without asking anyone. I was excited by how easy it was, but my driver was really blown away,’ the top executive wrote.