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google maps

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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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Google Maps tests new location indicator, shows Edits tab to check the status of your suggested changes

If you've been using Google Maps in the past couple of days, there are two changes that you may have noticed, or not depending on how lucky you are with server-side switches. The first one is purely cosmetic and the second is something Local Guides and sticklers for accuracy will enjoy.

The location indicator in Google Maps is seeing a small aesthetic change. Instead of the arrow pointer, some users are getting a widening gradient spray. It serves the same purpose, but might be more accurate in saying the general direction you're pointing at by broadening a little bit the field and not trying to pinpoint it precisely.

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Google Maps: Wi-Fi-only mode and SD card saved data are rolling out to everyone

The latest post to the official Google Maps blog brings some welcome news. A couple of features that have been exclusive to betas of the Android app, not to mention hinted at by our cheeky teardown posts, are now in the public version. Specifically, that handy Wi-Fi-only mode for users on a limited data allotment should now be live for everyone (it was limited to a subset of users before), and the option to save local mapping data to the SD card is now active as well.

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Google employs a cartoon yeti as a virtual tour guide in Verne: The Himalayas

Google's Creative Lab internal division certainly has a diverse body of work. Between all the experimental apps and weird web tools released under the name, you can find entries that range from novel to straight-laced and back again. The latest addition to the catalog falls into the former category. Verne: The Himalayas is a virtual tour of the world's highest mountain range, utilizing both Google's 3D satellite mapping technology and a cartoon abominable snowman.

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