When navigating via Google Maps, traffic lights are one of the biggest unknowns and something Google won't warn you about — I could sing a song or two about this as I once caused an accident due to a red light I oversaw at an unfamiliar, complicated crossroads (thankfully, no one got hurt). It looks like Google recognizes this potential hazard and wants to help people navigate unknown streets better, as the company is working on adding traffic lights information in Maps.
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Google Maps is far more than a tool we use just for finding our way around, and there's a huge discovery component to it as well — who hasn't scrolled around Maps looking for a new restaurant to try out? And while the standard overhead view is plenty useful, sometimes you want to really immerse yourself in a place with a first-person Street View experience. So far, though, navigating Maps in Street View has come at a price, as you wouldn't see those discoverable markers for businesses and points of interest. Now that's finally changing, as Google deploys an AR-style overlay that bring place markers to Street View.
Although Google Maps still doesn't have dark theme support, a workaround as been spotted that could give us a glimpse of what the feature will look like when it does arrive. Some searches in the Google app load their own stripped-down Maps view, and if you can get the app to work in dark theme on your phone, that Maps view is dressed up in a snazzy dark theme, too.
The Google Maps API, which allows websites to display information from Maps on their own web pages, is fifteen years old now. The powerful information available from Google gave developers the ability to get creative when embedding Maps content. Now the Google Maps Platform team is announcing both Local Context, a set of tools that make map embeds more useful on the web, and the worldwide availability of its solution to integrate Google Maps data into games.
After a street section opposite the White House was renamed to “Black Lives Matter Plaza,” Google moved quickly last week to update Maps with the new label. But the satellite imagery wasn’t refreshed immediately to show the massive “Black Lives Matter” street mural. Google Maps has now updated the images of that part of Washington DC, but the view is still buggy on the mobile app.
The last few months have been very beneficial to users of several Google services. Meet, Duo, and YouTube Music, in particular, have received updates and new features nearly every week, bringing them closer to competing services and making them easier to use and recommend. Today's winner of the update lottery is YouTube Music, which is now officially supported as a media app inside Google Maps.
Society is opening back up. It's happening slowly and it won't be fully until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus can be widely distributed, but it's happening. Still, movement restrictions are in place and, for transit riders, service reductions and mask requirements remain the name of the game. Google Maps is catching up with these changes by pushing more travel alerts when users pull up directions.
Google's been rolling out a few changes in response to current events. Following the official renaming of a two-block stretch of 16th street in Washington DC in front of the White House to "Black Lives Matter Plaza," Google has also updated that street section's name on Google Maps. The company has further added some new Assistant responses when customers ask it questions like "do Black lives matter?"
When you have a question about a business's hours, where do you go? Whether you use Android or iOS, chances are you probably check in with Google, doing a regular search or pulling up the business in Maps. And while either will display open hours, "open" is kind of a nebulous concept these days. Open for delivery? Open for pickup? Open for seniors only? Thankfully, Google's finally making it easy for companies to share all that different data.