At its I/O conference today, Google announced that it is refreshing its Maps app for mobile devices and overhauling its browser counterpart.
First, Maps for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets will be receiving an update later this summer. It’ll bring a more personalized, generally cleaner-looking design, a bigger focus on venue ratings from Zagat and fellow users, and partnerships with companies like Starbucks to make it easier for users to find special discounts or deals via the Google Offers service.
The mobile apps will also sport improved navigation features, as Maps will now alert users of nearby accidents in real time and offer rerouted directions for getting by incidents more smoothly.
Maps is getting a visual makeover on the desktop side as well, making it appear more interactive and much less cluttered at first blush. To paraphrase Google, the idea is to turn the map into the user interface itself.
A single search bar sits at the top corner of the page. Google will still offer suggestions while users search through it, but now icons on the map will have brief descriptions, and clicking on a location will bring up a Google Now-style card that displays more information and ratings for the venue. If a venue has Street View compatibility, users can now click on it to zoom inside and get a panorama-style look at the interior.
The whole thing looks much more customized too, as Google says that Maps will recommend and mark specific places relevant to each user by keeping track of locales they review, specially mark (like one’s home or office), share with friends and the like. If a user is looking for directions to a particular place, Maps will automatically highlight street names close to it in order to make things more visible.
The view from above has been improved, as the new Maps will integrate 3D mapping technology from Google Earth. Users can even pull all the way above the planet and see the clouds as they, according to Google, move in real time. Oculus Rift and Leap Motion support were also said to be coming to the reworked software.
Curious users can sign up for a preview version of the redesigned Maps today, with invites arriving tomorrow. The link to the sign-up page can be found at the source link below.
Source: Google Maps