Google Maps is celebrating its 15th birthday with a new look and product updates based on feedback from users.
Photo: File
Google Maps is celebrating its 15th birthday with a new look and product updates based on feedback from users. Photo: File

Google celebrates 15th birthday with a new look and product updates

By Dhivana Rajgopaul Time of article published Feb 7, 2020

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DURBAN - More than 1 billion people are turning to Google Maps and this year Google Maps is celebrating its 15th birthday with a new look and product updates based on feedback from users. 

Users will now see an updated Google Maps app for Android and iOS that gives them everything that they need at their fingertips with five easy-to-access tabs: Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute and Updates.

Here is a closer look at the new tabs:

Explore: In the Explore tab, users will find information, ratings, reviews and more for about 200 million places around the world, including local restaurants, nearby attractions and city landmarks. 

Commute: The Commute tab is there to make sure that people are on the most efficient route. Users can also Set up their daily commute to get real-time traffic updates, travel times and suggestions for alternative routes. 

Saved: People can view all of their saved spots in one convenient place, as well as find and organise plans for an upcoming trip and share recommendations based on places they have been. 

Contribute: With the new Contribute tab, users can easily share local knowledge, such as details about roads and addresses, missing places, business reviews and photos. 

Updates: The new Updates tab provides users with a feed of trending, must-see spots from local experts and publishers. In addition to discovering, saving and sharing recommendations with their network, users can also directly chat with businesses to get questions answered.

Google has updated the look of Google Maps with a new icon that reflects the evolution that Google Maps has made mapping the world. It’s based on a key part of Google Maps since the very beginning—the pin— and represents the shift that has been made from getting users to their destination to also helping users discover new places and experiences.

There is also a celebratory party-themed car icon, available for a limited time when users navigate with Google Maps.

The new transit features in the Google Maps app help users stay informed when they are taking public transportation.

To help users plan their travels, Google Maps is adding new insights about routes from past riders, so that users will be able to see important details, such as: 

Temperature: Check in advance if the temperature is considered by past riders as on the colder or warmer side. 

Accessibility: If users have special needs or require additional support, they can identify public transit lines with staffed assistance, accessible entrance and seating, accessible stop-button or hi-visible LED. 

Women’s Section: In regions where transit systems have designated women's sections or carriages, Google Maps will help surface this information along with whether other passengers abide by it. 

Security Onboard: Feel safer knowing if security monitoring is on board—whether that’s with a security guard present, installed security cameras or an available helpline.

To help future riders, users can answer a short survey within Google Maps about their experience on recent trips. Google Maps will start rolling this out globally in March, with availability varying by region and municipal transportation agency.

Last year, Google Maps introduced Live View to help users quickly decide which way to go when they start a walking route with Google Maps. By combining Street View’s real-world imagery, machine learning and smartphone sensors, Live View in Google Maps shows users their surroundings with the directions overlaid in augmented reality. 

Google Maps will be expanding Live View over the next few months and testing new capabilities, starting with better assistance whenever they are searching for a place. Users will be able to quickly see how far away and in which direction a place is.


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