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google maps

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The newer, more accurate direction indicator in Google Maps is going live for all users

Last month a few Google Maps users started seeing a new display style for the direction indicator, that little arrow that shows which way your device is pointed (or at least which way it thinks it's pointed) on the primary maps and navigation interface. Specifically, it's no longer an arrow: it's a more general "beam" indicator that shows both the approximate direction you're facing and how accurate your device's orientation reporting is. According to the official Google Maps blog, that feature is now rolling out to all users.

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[Update: Android app too] Google Maps' speed limits start showing up while driving... on Android Auto

There are some missing features in Android and some of Google's apps that are simply incomprehensible. Speed limits are one of them. In countries where speed limits are enforceable by the law and mandatory to respect (ie not here in Lebanon), it's quite unfathomable to me that you would be using a routing and navigation app that didn't show you the speed limit of each road you were taking so you could drive safely and lawfully.

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Latest Google Maps beta shows distance to locations in search

A few days ago, we posted a teardown of the latest Google Maps beta. Another minor, but much appreciated, change in this beta version is that distances now appear alongside results in search.

This is a very minor feature, but definitely one worth mentioning. Most of the time when I searched for locations, I had to look at the map myself and figure out which was the closest. As you would expect, it shows the distance in either Imperial 'Murican or Metric units, depending on your preference.

googlemaps-screenshot

If you want to try out the beta release, you can download the APK from APKMirror.

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Some Google Maps beta users are seeing a new Explore interface

Android users (or at least the ones who read this site) love a good beta, because it means that they get to check out all the new bells and whistles before anyone else. So it goes with the beta version of Google Maps. Multiple readers tell us they're seeing a new user interface when opening Google Maps' Explore menu, which is an alternate view for finding local businesses and attractions. The new look, which is heavy on Google Now-style cards, is above. Compare it to the current version (on the standard non-beta app) below.

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Google Maps v9.37 beta adds personal content settings screen and timeline shortcut, organizes notification settings, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

It's a Friday afternoon and wouldn't you know it, Google set loose an update to the Maps app just in time for the weekend to begin. (Not like some of us didn't have plans...) Like so many recent updates to Maps, this one has some pretty notable changes worth checking out. There's a new settings screen for controlling how your personal content shows up in the app and the notification settings have been organized into sub-groups for easier browsing. A shortcut has been added to get into your timeline quickly, and it looks like level 3 Local Guides can now work with some of the recently added features for making contributions to places nearby.

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Google Maps adds Lyft and Gett to ride services tab

Back in March, Google Maps added a dedicated ride-sharing tab with comparative prices. This is extremely useful if you want to compare prices easily, and of course to see what services are available in a given area.

Today, Google is improving that feature by adding support for Lyft and Gett. Google claims Maps now displays options from "9 ride-sharing partners in over 60 countries." Google also mentions that the ride-sharing tab shows multiple types of services offered by each company. For example, Lyft may also show a Lyft Line ride as an option.

Google says that options from Lyft will show up all across the United States, while Gett will be limited to New York City (which is to be expected, as Gett is exclusive to that city).

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New mapmaker feature available for Local Guides in Google Maps

You might have received notifications from Google Maps for the last few months, asking you some information about places you've visited. For example, after I left McDonalds a few days ago Google Maps asked me if it was a "good place for parties" (I guess?). Answering those questions gets you points on Google Maps' Local Guide program, and after accumulating enough points, you can level up.

I myself am just a Level 2 'Local Guide', but Google has released new features to Level 4+ guides. Numerous people have sent us tips about a new 'Improve the map near you' section on the Contribute tab.

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Google Maps now has a 'Catching Pokémon' activity option in Timeline

Niantic might not technically be part of Google anymore, but it looks like at least a few people at the old stomping grounds are keeping up with the AR development team's progress. Reddit user GoldLeader272 noticed a juicy new addition to the activity selector in the Timeline feature of Google Maps yesterday: users can now indicate that they were "catching Pokémon," i.e. playing Pokémon GO on their phones. Users can even update Timeline activities on the Android app: go to "Your timeline," tap on the travel (car, walking, bus, cycling, etc.) icon, and then edit it to "catching Pokémon." Neat.

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Google Maps v9.36.0 beta adds voice commands to avoid tolls, ferries, and highways, adds custom lists for saved places, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

A new Google Maps update is rolling out today. For most people, this version might not have a big impact quite yet, but it's introducing a new feature for some high-level members of the Local Guides program. Those that qualify will be able to create custom lists of saved places. For the rest of us, there's a new notification for local traffic and voice commands to avoid toll roads, highways, and ferries. There are also a few new things to check out in a teardown, including integration with another service, another tease about ordering food, and more.

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Google Maps v9.35 Beta adds Plus Codes to dropped pins and an arrival screen to navigation, prepares for speed limits, ordering food online, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

Out of the entire list of apps in Google's lineup, Maps is probably the most consistent about delivering new and interesting features with almost every release. Version 9.35 began rolling out to users signed up to the beta channel yesterday and it's no slouch. Regular drivers can look forward to a new screen to welcome them when they arrive at their destinations, and dropped pins now contain Plus Codes so it's extremely easy to convey fairly precise locations to people through text, IM, and even over the phone. Moving over to a teardown shows that speed limits and current speed are going to be shown during navigation.

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