It might be hard to believe, but the Google Maps we know and love launched 10 years ago today. Before Android, Chrome, Google Plus, Youtube, and most of the other services that make up the core of the Google experience, we had Maps. And while it might be saying too much to argue that Maps led the way to Google's recent successes, it is certainly under-appreciated for its role.
Coming with the latest Google Maps update is Local Guides, a new program meant to increase the number of reviews original to Google and highlight the best of them. It is both a feature addition to Maps and something that exists independently of it. Guides are people who will be rewarded for their reviews, while you benefit by having them as a more credible source of information.
The Maps team has been on a roll ever since the Material makeover early last month. None of the new features are inherently huge, but there is some serious fine-tuning going on. With the release of v9.1, businesses and landmark pages became more informative. The trend continues in v9.2 as there are new improvements to the interface for Navigation and search.
Google Maps is one of those apps that will always have an enormous number of potential new features, so it's interesting to see the things Google is focusing on with each new release. We just saw an update to v9.2 with new navigation settings and auto-correct for searches, but there are plenty of other really interesting additions in the works.
OK, European readers. We know Google doesn't always put a rush on features and products outside of the United States. America got lane guidance (which tells you which lane to get into before you approach a turn or exit) way back in May. It looks like US roads were the only ones on which this feature was available, at least until yesterday, when Google announced lane guidance for some European countries on the official Google Europe blog.
Most of us don't want to think of Android without Google Play services. There's a good reason for that, without all of the tools Google offers, we would miss out on features like push notifications, integrated maps, and even newer things like Google Fit. Developers keep asking for more and Google is answering that call.
I'd like to take a moment to both thank and blame Google. Thank you, Google, for offering a free and accurate method of maps and navigation, making it easy to find almost any address quickly and precisely. Also, it's your fault that I never actually know where I am anymore, since I just go where my phone tells me to.
Here's a Google app that few people would judge you for not knowing about. There's this thing formerly known as Maps Engine that lets people create custom maps and share them with others. Now it goes by the name of My Maps. And, put bluntly, it's a change that makes sense.