Google's social boss was kind enough to give us the rundown of what was in the new G+ update this morning, but he did omit a few key details. One feature in particular that didn't get mentioned finally makes that location screen worth using. You can now jump directly into turn-by-turn navigation to make your way to wherever your friends are on the map.

This feature only works with people who have have shared their location with you. Google also changed the way you access the location screen. There's no navigation panel in Google+ anymore, so tap the bar up top where you pick which feeds you want to see. Locations will be down at the bottom (it's kind of tiny). On this screen, find the contact you want to navigate to and slide the bar at the bottom of the screen right or left to reveal navigation and Hangout buttons. Hit the navigation button and you go right to the route selection screen, just one tap from navigation.

This is totally not intuitive, and there's no indication in the UI that these buttons are hiding in there. This is a cool feature – it's odd Google would tuck it away behind a slider no one would ever notice. But now you know.

[Thanks, +Ananya Gupta]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Oh, Google, why did you have to remove one color from the loading bar?

    • Grahaman27

      maybe its just because of the red action bar color?

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Well, partially, but it looks weird with only 3 colors when there is no action bar on the top, like when you are viewing someon's profile

      • mikewatson021

        I think Google new creativity attract people


    • Omg

      I'm sure there are OCD designers in Google putting thought into these stuff.

  • TechWings

    I don't think it's hidden I've noticed a couple of visual cues that indicate it's there. First on the list view it says something like "try swiping from the side for more options" the first time you fire up locations. And when you first open the app the first person listed bounces to show that there's something underneath.

    • TechWings


      • blahmoomoo

        I'd say that a one-time notification that there's non-standard UI interaction available is unacceptable. You need more than that to remember that it exists, especially if it's in a place you usually don't go to.

        • TechWings

          I think it stays there until you actually swipe. At least it hasn't dismissed on the N7. But it's gone away on both M8 and N5.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I haven't had this pop up at all after the update. If it only pops up for first-time Locations users, then it's useless.

          • TechWings

            Nope. I've been using Locations forever. I have quite a few people on my list.

          • Ryan

            it showed for me and I've used locations before

            wait. it still shows actually. I just opened it again, and when you press the little man/list icon for your contacts at the top of the list it shows that 'try swiping' notification

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I've been using locations forever and I didn't see any first time clues today. I also didn't see any visual bounces.

      I think it's pretty poor discovery UX tbh, but I'm really glad Locations are much more useful now.

      • TechWings

        See me screenshot. I dismissed it on the M8 GPe, but I thankfully I hadn't opened the app on the N5.

    • Leif Sikorski

      I had this little guide as well and did used locations before.

    • duse

      Don't excuse it, their UI is shit.

      • A2theC

        I'll stick to my cardboard box and sweat stains thank you, very nice UI!

    • http://scribblepeople.net Mike

      they tucked it right away

    • http://thepolymath.in/ Deepansh Khurana

      Shows for me as well and I have used Locations before. The only problem is it shows my own location as well. But the message is clearly there.

      All I followed was this : Locations - Tapped on the Contact icon in the bottom centre - It was there.

  • maz
    • TechWings

      I agree. Maybe they're training us for 4.5 or "Lemonhead." All the reports suggest it'll heavily gesture based.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        My guess is the struggle to unify the UI and UX on both platforms so that users wouldn't have a headache when trying to navigate around these apps should they switch the platform

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    To all those saying there's a visual clue or a bounce, the UX of that sucks. I just updated another one of my devices
    that I used Locations on prior just to make sure, and there are no
    clues or bounces of any sort when going to Locations after the update.

    As far as I'm concerned, it's a totally hidden and unadvertised feature for existing users.

    • TechWings

      It may suck, but it is there.

  • Leif Sikorski

    "This is totally not intuitive, and there's no indication in the UI that these buttons are hiding in there."

    Changing the view to different circles or communities is, at least for me, the most used function in the G+ App every day so it was one of the first things I've noticed. I don't think it's hidden.

  • archercc

    About damned time. When they removed this feature from Latitude they basically made it completely useless. It only became useful for stalking I guess. If my parents had a breakdown or my girlfriend wanted me to meet her someplace I had to get directions from them or find them in G+, locate and intersection and/or landmark and then hope to find it in Maps. A major PITA compared to Latitudes function of just pressing on them already in maps.

  • Roy Riddex

    Might be worth mentioning that the same functionality is available from the floating list of your contacts i.e. with the locations map on screen, press the button in between the arrows to see a list of your contacts, from the list you can also swipe right

    • Paul_Werner

      Nice, thanks for sharing that

  • Shatter

    You can also simply tap on the bar with friends info at the bottom and it will laso direct you to the navigation in maps.

  • Hothfox

    I, um, can't get it to work? I have tried swiping, but it doesn't swipe away to show those options.

    • Hothfox

      Apparently an update had been pushed since this new UI update that had this feature in it. Once that update was available to me, it works now.

  • GazaIan

    That gif is smoother than my entire Nexus 4

  • William Pickering

    This doesn't work for me at all. Nexus 4, kitkat 4.4.2, Australia.

    Using the latest apk from the last AP story.