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Google Maps v9.59 beta adds Q&A section, Picture-in-Picture support, monthly driving stats, and more notification channels [APK Download]

A new update to Google Maps is rolling out to the beta channel members right now, and like so many previous releases, there are a few new features to check out. First, the Q&A feature from the last teardown of Maps is live. Drivers will soon be able to see a monthly report of their behavior right inside the app. If you're running an Android O developer preview, the first thing you can look forward to is the addition of Picture-in-Picture support. Also for Android O are a pair of new notification channels to get better control over navigation-specific information.

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Google Maps v9.58 beta prepares to add crowdsourced Q&A sections and user-contributed videos [APK Teardown]

There's a new version of Google Maps making the rounds through the beta channel. So far, no major changes are showing up with regular usage of the app, but there is evidence of a couple really huge new features on the horizon. A teardown of the apk reveals that the Maps team is preparing to launch a Q&A section for places that would allow users to ask and answer questions for each other. Also on the schedule is the addition of video to the types of media users will be able to contribute. These are some pretty huge features, so let's get straight to it.

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Google Maps has started showing a travel time graph for directions

Google is always adding something new to Maps, but not everyone gets the new stuff at the same time. Right now, it looks like Google has added a nifty travel time graph to directions so you'll know how much traffic there will be. This appears to be one of the rare instances where a new feature was quietly rolled out to all users in the space of a few weeks.

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You can now book appointments at spas and salons on Google

Google is increasingly interested in expanding its reach beyond the digital world. Search results and Maps listings are more than just links and Wikipedia snippets; they often contain live info that can help you plan your day. For example, Google began integrating reservations for fitness classes into its services recently, and today that system is expanding to salons and spas in the US.

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Google Maps may be removing the category shortcuts from search, beautifies blue dot menu in latest update [APK Download]

Many people in the United States hit the road for their Independence Day celebrations, no doubt giving them more than a little time to re-familiarize themselves with Google Maps as they travel through unfamiliar territory. Now that most people have returned to their regular schedules, a couple of changes have been made to the interface, but one may not be entirely welcome. Oddly, it seems the Maps team just started rolling out tweaks to those red category search shortcuts that were pretty handy for finding nearby food, fuel, and other things. They've been completely removed from the regular search screen, and in Navigation mode, they've been pushed from the top to the very bottom.

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Google confirms speed limits on Google Maps only available in two areas

For years, Google Maps didn't support speed limits at all, a massively helpful feature on any navigation software. This finally changed last year, when the speed limit began to appear on Maps for Android Auto (and later the phone app). But it hasn't been available everywhere, and now Google has finally confirmed which areas have the feature.

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Google Maps now lets you contribute accessibility details

Google Maps began showing data on a location's wheelchair accessibility late last year, and now it's going a step further. Users are invited to help Google build a more robust database of accessibility details in Maps by adding their own observations. You even get contributor points for it.

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Google Maps navigation is crashing on Android Auto for many - here's how to fix it [APK Download]

Google gets made fun of for treating its customers like beta testers quite often, and the latest situation the company has gotten itself into doesn't do that reputation any favors. In very close proximity with another Android Auto issue, users on the Android Auto User Community in Google's Product Forums are reporting that Google Maps is crashing when navigation is initiated.

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Google Maps v9.55 adds notification channels for Android O and might add offline maps for whole countries [APK Download + Teardown]

If you're on the Google Maps beta channel, you probably received an update to v9.55 in the last day or so. After hunting for a while, we haven't seen any notable changes on most devices; except if you're running Android O, in which case the latest version enables a full array of notification channels. The hunt for features also brought out a teardown with a hint that users may finally have the option to download offline maps for whole countries.

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Google adds more Local Guides levels and ways to earn points

Google Maps has a lot of data, some of it contributed by users. Google is keenly aware that you can get people to contribute to a service rather easily as long as you give them points. The points don't even have to be good for anything, although Local Guides points do come with some rewards. Today, Google is adding new levels to the Local Guides program and offering new ways to earn points so you can reach these higher levels.

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