Until now, Google Maps and Waze (also owned by Google) were the only navigation apps to be fully supported on Android Auto — others were restricted to the phone interface. This is now changing as popular alternative Sygic becomes one of the first third-party navigation apps to have native support for Android Auto.
Yesterday Google highlighted several great new features coming to Maps, but the company left one little detail out of its announcement: The compass is back. The classic orienteering widget is back by popular demand, and it's about as reliable as ever.
Google Maps is easily one of the company's most successful products. The era of using a paper guide or linear follow-them-or-get-lost MapQuest directions is long over. And though some competing services like Apple Maps might be prettier, Google Maps is king when it comes to functionality, tools, and services integrations. But the best-of-the-best is getting better this summer, and Google is rolling out a handful of new tools and tweaks, like indoor AR navigation, weather and air quality information, grocery pickup integration, and tweaks to reduce your dead-dinosaur-burning car's carbon footprint.
Location sharing is great for keeping track of those important to you. It's also something that many forget about once it's been set up; it would be easy to share your location with someone on a day out, only to forget about it for months (or even years) to come. To help with this, Google Maps has started to remind us of whose shared locations we have access to.
Google is looking to juice its Maps service up with tons of new data and it's looking to you for help. With warmer weather coming across the U.S., Google Maps is looking for updates on what stores and restaurants are doing with indoor and patio layouts as well as learning about new roads it hasn't caught onto.
Living in a small town crisscrossed by train tracks is a recipe frustration if you need to get anywhere in a hurry. Google knows this, and is starting to integrate railroad crossing info into Google Maps navigation. The feature isn't official yet, but it's showing up for a few users.
Google has been teasing a dark theme for Maps for over a year now, and it even briefly rolled out to a few people, but it was never properly formalized or acknowledged officially. That changed last month when Google finally announced that dark mode is coming, and now, it's starting to roll out more widely.
Google is always working on improving its Android apps and the operating system itself, heavily relying on public a/b tests that appear on some people's phones but not on others. But every once in a while, the company takes the time to announce some features formally, and today is another one of those days. Google is making a whole slew of known tests and a few brand-new changes official.
While we may not be using Maps as often in these times of pandemic, Google is still constantly working on improving the service. Recently it introduced split-screen street view and also rolled out incredibly accurate street-level details. Now in a bid to make traveling easier for those venturing out, Google is making it possible to pay for parking and public transit fares directly from the app.
Let's face it, a lot of us would literally be lost without Google Maps. It not only helps with directions, but also with picking the best mode of transportation by showing their ETAs in a neat row. This might change, though, as Google is testing a new UI that looks cleaner but is not necessarily as intuitive as before.