Tagged: Google Maps

Google Maps just got a great new feature and you probably didn’t even realize it

Google Maps is a must-have app on any smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone or Android device. But let’s not forget that Google Maps was available initially on the web, where it still sees plenty of use. And Google Maps on the web has been getting new features all the time lately. After all, the bigger screen of a computer does come in handy when planning new trips and researching destinations.

Google recently added a neat new feature to the web version of Google Maps, one that most of us likely missed because it’s the kind of smart feature you expect your mobile device to deliver.

Google Maps on the web can now notify you when it’s time to leave, in order to to make sure you arrive at your destination on time. If that sounds familiar, it’s because the feature is already available on mobile devices.

As Android Police explains, there’s no telling when the feature first launched. Google Maps started offering notifications on the web in January, but those notifications only concerned Local Guides contributions.

A second option was added to the Notifications toggles in Google Maps’ settings called “Time to leave.” Just make sure you activate the feature by going to the Notifications toggles inside the side menu. Google Maps might also issue a prompt informing you about the new feature, as you can see in the top left corner in the screenshot above.

Make sure you’re signed into Google Maps to take advantage of all these features. After all, Google has to know your whereabouts and plans. Also, you’ll have to allow Google to track your location for the Notifications feature to work, which most Google Maps users obviously already do.

Google Maps is about to get Waze’s best feature

Google Maps is probably one of a few must-have apps on any phone, whether it’s Android or iPhone. That’s already a given, but Google just updated Maps on Android, bringing a new design and features to loyal Maps users.

Waze, which is also owned by Google, is perhaps the second must-have navigation app you have to have on your phone. It’s not as knowledge-rich as Google Maps, but, to many drivers, Waze delivers an even better navigation experience, as it provides a critical feature that’s not available on Google Maps. Well, it hasn’t been available, but it looks like Google will bring it over soon.

Waze offers real-time cooperation between drivers. You can report any sort of trouble you encounter on your way, including accidents, roadblocks, police sightings, and speed traps, to name a few. The more people use Waze, the more data you get about what’s ahead. And that kind of information can significantly speed up your commute.

Google is apparently well aware of the usefulness of crowd-sourced navigation data, and it’s ready to bring this level of user interaction to Google Maps. In fact, some Google Maps users on Android have already spotted incident report prompts, which will instantly remind you of Waze. Android Police first noticed the code for these incident reports while tearing down Google Maps v9.79, but the incident reports are now live for a few lucky users:

As you can see in the image above, you’ll be able to see exactly what kind of incident was reported on the road ahead and when it was published. You’ll also be able to interact with the notification and update it with more relevant information. After all, this feature only works on Waze as long as users keep adding new reports and update or remove the existing ones. The same thing will happen on Google Maps.

The screenshots above only show reports for road work and closed work, but crashes, speed cameras, and speed traps will also be supported.

If the feature isn’t available on your Android device, you’ll probably get it soon, so keep trying. Hopefully, the iPhone is going to get Waze integration in Google Maps next.

A major Google Maps redesign is rolling out to everyone right now

First unveiled at Google I/O 2018 back in May, the major Google Maps update was recently spotted in the wild. At the time, we told you the Material Design makeover wasn’t ready to roll out to all Google Maps users, as only a few lucky Android devices got access. It turns out that Google is now ready to move forward with the launch, and the new Google Maps redesign is slowly rolling out to all users.

We’ve already covered the main feature of the Google Maps redesign. The only difference is that Google’s Material Design is now rolling out to users who have Maps 9.80.2, according to Android Police.

You’ll know you have it as soon as you launch Google Maps. You can expect a bunch of user interface changes, including new buttons and colorful icons against a mostly white background.

You’ll also see a brand new Explore experience that should deliver more information about what’s available near you. The scrolling carousel is richer both when it comes to design but also content. You’ll get plenty of new categories including food, shopping, services, and other areas of interest related to a particular location.

Here are some sample images:

If you don’t see any of these changes, remember that Google rolls out new updates gradually. Don’t worry though because you’re going to get the new Google Maps Material Design very soon, now that it’s widely available.

The update is rolling out on Android devices only at first, and there’s no word when the iPhone will get it. However, given Google’s tendency to bring most Google Maps features from Android to iPhone we wouldn’t be surprised to see Material Design in the iOS app soon.

Google Maps no longer lets you book Uber rides from within the app

Google is constantly adding new features and functionality to its array of mobile apps, which is why today’s news is so surprising. On Monday, Android Police was one of the first to notice that Google has updated its online documentation to clarify that the ability to request a ride via Uber within the app has been deactivated.

“You can no longer book Uber rides directly in Google Maps,” Google reveals on its support website. “But you can still look up the route in the Maps app and then request the ride from the Uber app.”

Neither Google nor Uber have offered any explanations as to why this change has taken place. Google hyped up the feature when it was first added last January, releasing YouTube videos showing users how to book a ride without ever leaving the app. While the feature was active, you wouldn’t even need to have the Uber app installed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUYJL1b7SKg

Until one of the companies decides to say something about the unexpected cancellation of the features, it’s anyone’s guess as to what happened. That said, the fact that users were able to use the Uber service without downloading the actual Uber app might not have sat right with the ride sharing company. Providing this is a permanent change, Uber may have just decided that it was tired of losing potential app users to Google Maps.

The fact that Uber integration is still available within the app makes it seem unlikely that Google was the impetus of this decision. You can no longer book a ride in Google Maps, but you can still look up a route in Maps and request a ride along that route in the Uber app. If Google was looking to cut ties with Uber, why not go all the way?