15
May
unnamed (1)

Google just announced that a brand-new Google maps smartphone experience will be landing on Android and iOS soon, and it looks astoundingly good. The aesthetics of 2D street maps have been completely redesigned to be easier on the eyes, and better at organizing information. The only downside is that it's not coming until "this summer."

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Nearly every aspect of the Maps app has been reworked. Zagat ratings are no longer the default ratings system for places (it's now a 1-5 star user rating), and place cards have an all-new look. I really can't go through every single change, because it seems like Google's had its hands in every corner of the APK. Another highlight is friend-based suggestions - Maps will now point out locations your friends (on Google+, of course) have liked if they fall within the criteria of your search. Very neat. There's also a brand-new dedicated tablet UI.

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One thing that has been long overdue, I think we can all agree, is a new Google Maps Navigation experience. Wait no more: it's here.

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The new navigation UI isn't a massive overhaul, but it has some great new features, like real-time, dynamic rerouting based on traffic conditions. Yes, that does sound fantastic. Color me excited. If Maps discovers that a quicker alternate route is available, it will suggest that route in the navigation UI, and let you know how much time you'll save by taking it. Navigation will also alert you to traffic incidents on your routes as they occur.

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Again, the new Maps update for Android isn't scheduled to actually go live until this summer, so you'll have to wait to really dig into this pretty amazing new experience. There's also a totally-revamped desktop experience (it is crazy cool - read more about it here), which you'll be able to sign up to preview here shortly. Here's a video of that new desktop experience (nothing official about the mobile app yet, sorry!).

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Nevi_me

    Took long enough, looks beautiful!

  • JordanKZ

    "This summer" :-/

  • Wilfredo Alarcon

    Nice and beautiful...and now wait. :/

  • Steve Bachman

    It's 102 here in Phoenix! Summer is NOW!

    • Bob G

      Summer is a season (or a name at times), but never a temperature.

      • ReturnOfTheMack

        Ya don't say...

      • http://GPlus.to/Abhisshack Abhisshack

        Thanks You Captain Obvious for your WISDOM

      • Andy

        Gee. Thanks Derp!

    • Ian Santopietro

      In Phoenix, it's always summer.

      • http://www.facebook.com/TromboneJuan Juan De La Rosa

        As Texas

  • http://twitter.com/im_x3n0n ChàmíngaD

    Will they enable navigation worldwide ?

  • Ashish Raj

    Sign up for preview??? F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5....

  • http://twitter.com/GitMuny Ciroc Obama

    So from what I can see, this is what ios has had since last fall?

    • Michael Pahl

      iOS doesnt have this at all... your thinking of the web app?

  • Gabe Stover

    I've been waiting for / wanting this more than Babel / Hangouts - can't wait!

  • usaff22

    google.com/maps/preview

  • enoch861

    I still wonder how it compares to Waze...

  • SxperiaS

    Any mention on offline navigation?

  • Felipe Simmons

    Any news on lane assist? Was really looking forward to this feature!

  • Sergio

    With Android Studio for developers, the only thing interesting of the Google I/O. And won't be there till the summer... Very poor this time, Google...

  • Keerthi Madapusi Pera

    Did they finally make it so you can share and edit starred places? This has been driving me nuts for years.

  • Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

    I hate it!!! It looks like the iOS GMaps app UI!!!

  • duse

    To be honest, I've used Google Maps on iOS and find it very confusing and unintuitive. I think the Android interface with its simple action bar makes it easier to see what all you can do (for example, on iOS you swipe the bottom to see more place results, but there's no indication whatsoever of being able to do that in the UI). I've often found myself stumped with how to do something as simple as change the route. This new interface is unlike the design of any other Android app. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but I think the old UI was more straightforward.

    • Stiggy

      This is very true. It looks pretty when you use it but it's not exactly easy to learn.

  • Dan

    And still no native way to send a specific route directly from the computer to the phone.

    • Adrian Robinson

      I use Google's extension 'Chrome to Phone' to push specific routes to my Android devices. You should give that a try.

  • Asphyx

    I have always said GMaps is probably the best map app out there until you find the one place where Data is not available and then it is virtually useless and worthless.
    I understand the storage requirements for maps on a mobile unit is humongous and it's not something that is easily kept up to date with all the goodies Google displays.
    But they at least have to design into the app some routine for downloading all the maps you will need for your entire trip while you still have data so you don't find yourself looking at a blank screen at the one location you need to make a turn but has no data coverage.
    Until they come up with that I will just have to stick with my CoPilot for my navigation duties.

    • JG

      Like you said, you couldn't download ALL of Google Maps to your phone, but... My old stand-alone sat nav stored it's maps & POI lists on a 2GB SD card, and even had some room left over for road-trip music, so a basic version would be do-able.

      Given the option to download the road map to have as a backup my phone could fall back on if I get lost without a data connection I'd happily sacrifice a gig or two... Maybe not so much if I have only 12GBs period (like the N4) (unless I do a lot of driving), But give me a 64GB SD card in my Google'ed GS4 and I'm ready to start the download right now.

      And I doubt roads change all that frequently. Stand-alone units are generally only updated once a year, right, and still manage to be fairly accurate. So it should be fine checking in say, every 3 months, for a delta file to update the local cache.

      You won't have street view & all that cool stuff... But at least you won't have to worry about getting lost & running out of gas in the middle of nowhere with banjo music playing in the background (*no offence to any banjo-ists reading this)...

  • JG

    A novelty update I'd really like to see would be the ability to change the voice. Could be fun to change have Dr. Sheldon Cooper giving you driving directions... "oh, you missed your turn, I hate having to recalculate... BAZINGA I love it"

    • Michael Williams

      Wow... I would SO use that one too! :-)

  • Zach Mauch

    speed limits and lane assist were the two things I really wanted in my google maps mobile navigation. Maybe they are waiting till they announce 4.3 for that.

  • Elias

    Still no vector-based maps drawn on the fly? Do I still need a network connection to download map tiles? No offline routes? FFS, get your shit together, Google!

    Not everyone wants to pay for a data plan (my parents), and those who do (me) don't always have a network coverage (poor signal for carriers on my country) or a fast enough connection (network always crowded and some places only have 2g data). Some people might argue that gmaps lets you predownload map tiles automatically for a given location, but this is not valid for every country (such as mine and most of the neighboring ones). And for anyone planning a international trip, maps is basically unusable because you can't trace routes and download map tiles on the go, unless you are willing to pay outrageous international roaming prices. Buying a local Sim card is not always a good option.

  • etc

    Now compares this to Waze....vrooom vrooom

  • Chitta

    How about lane assist ?? Desperately waiting for this.

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