In today’s Google Blog post, Google is celebrating its Maps platform’s 15th birthday with a new look for the Google Maps app, along with a whole new app icon.
Google Maps first launched in 2005, back before Android and iOS even existed. Once Android came around, one of its selling points was that Android users had a free way to get turn-by-turn directions during a time when TomTom and Garmin sold its GPS units, and US carriers charged subscription fees to use their own turn-by-turn maps on feature phones. The following video shows a quick evolution of the Google Maps icon.
A new look is coming to Google Maps, starting with the removal of the hamburger menu. Instead, the app will get two more tabs at the bottom for a total of five. Here’s what each one offers.
- Explore: Here’s where you’ll find new places based on your personal recommendations. It’s also where you can search for restaurants, city attractions, and restaurants – along with their reviews.
- Commute: This tab helps you quickly find the best way to make it back home or back to work whether its by car, transit, or on foot.
- Saved: This is where you’ll find your saved places, reservations and plans for upcoming trips. You can also share recommendations to friends of places you’ve visited.
- Contribute: Here’s where you can leave reviews of places, share details about addresses, and add missing business hours.
- Updates: This is a feed of trending places near you. It will help you discover places nearby and get in touch with businesses to get your questions answered.
Transit features are also getting updated. In addition to live arrival times and crowdedness predictions, Google Maps will offer new aspects of traveling via public transit.
Transit riders will now be able to see temperature in advance so they can anticipate whether they should dress cool or bundle up. There is also new accessibility information that lets riders know which train or bus lines offer accessible entrances and whether there are attendants to help disabled passengers.
For specific regions, there’s a Women’s section which offers information about transit lines with designated women’s sections. There’s also new Security info which lets you know which parts of the transit system are monitored by either cameras or a live security guard.
Finally, Japanese transit riders will be able to choose a route based on the number of carriages so they can make sure they can find a seat.
Google is going to expand its availability of Live View navigation “over the coming months”. It expects to enable new capabilities and features for Live View.
You can download the update now on iOS or Android, but the only thing that immediately changed for us was the app icon. The new layout will probably happen server-side so it might just pop-up suddenly.