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. Let's take a look at some of the features we might have to look forward to.
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. With the latest release of Google Play services, new features are coming to Fit, Maps, Drive, And Wallet.
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. Now Google Maps users in no less than twenty new countries around the world can have the same experience.
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. This conveys to users what the app actually does. Map Engine? Not so much.
To go with the name change, Google has changed the app's icon as well.
If you're even remotely interested in high-end gaming, you've probably heard of Destiny, also known as "that shooting MMO game that's kinda like Halo from the people who made Halo." The marketing team for Destiny has decided to team up with Google to create an interesting way for excited players (or prospective players) to check out the environments of the game. It's called Destiny Planet View, and it blasts the Google Street View interface into the solar system for a look at some fictional alien worlds.
The Play Store is filled with navigation apps, but only one comes pre-installed on most Android devices. Google's resource isn't without its drawbacks, but it's a pretty solid enough option to satisfy many users out of the box. Of course, the service has to be available in your country before it's usable in any sense. For Panama, the time has come for people to give the app some hands-on time and decide for themselves.
Google has a relatively easy time mapping out the US, but things get trickier the further overseas it explores. Each international border brings about its own set of laws and organizations that the tech giant must accommodate. When Google began working with Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy a couple years ago to map out much of the large country of over 200 million, it was undertaking its largest Asian expansion to date.
Street View's name doesn't fully capture what the service is good for. Yes, it makes getting the feel for a new city or campus cheap and easy, but it's perfectly capable of providing shots of places other than streets as well. Google has recently taken Street View to some of the most impressive areas of Iceland and is doing its part to share the region's beauty with the rest of the world.