This story was originally published and last updated .
About two years ago, Google added sidebars to its web apps, enhancing its services with miniature versions of Calendar, Tasks, or Keep, and you can even integrate third-party applets. For the first time in ages, a web app has now received a new standard integration — you can now access an almost full-blown version of Maps right inside Google Calendar.
Everything you could find in Maps itself right in the Calendar sidebar.
As 9to5Google first reported, the new Maps integration can be found in the rightmost sidebar below the existing Keep and Tasks mini apps. When you click the icon, Maps will load in a two-pane view, with a search bar and a map at the top and a selection of recent searches and saved places along with your shortcuts to your home and work addresses below (see the first screenshot in the article).
The experience is as fully-featured as it can get in the limited space. You can search for addresses and businesses, view opening hours, look for grocery stores, takeout options, and hotels, move the map freely, and look up directions. A few things are missing, though: You can't change the map type, contribute your own reviews or photos, see updates, edit commutes, and some Maps links like "more reviews" will open in new tabs.
Click an address in an appointment, and the sidebar will open — you need an extra click to open the map in a new tab.
I imagine that the integration is particularly useful for those who have a lot of customer meetings in different locations, as the Maps sidebar only really becomes powerful once you start clicking addresses saved in your appointments. Instead of opening in a new tab, the selected place will show up in the sidebar, along with directions and more information on it. When you click the square with an arrow at the top, you're taken to a new tab with a full-size Maps experience right where you left off. This also means that Maps links will always open in the sidebar first — we haven't found a way to revert to the old behavior that had Maps links open in new tabs.
Complete with navigation instructions you can send to your phone.
Our friends at How-To Geek found a way to disable the sidebar and hence the new Maps integration altogether, and it's simpler than you would think. At the bottom of the sidebar, you'll find an arrow pointing right. When you click it, the sidebar will be hidden, and Maps links will open in new tabs again. This also works for other Google apps on the web, so if you don't need the sidebar in Gmail or Drive, you can deactivate it there as well.
At the moment, the new integration appears to be rolling out to personal accounts only — G Suite or Workspace users are left in the cold (or spared, depending on how you feel about the integration), but that will likely change in the future.
Workspace joins the party
Google has announced that the Maps sidebar shortcut is coming to the calendar for Workspace users. You can expect to see it at some point over the next few weeks as Google gradually rolls it out.