May 6, 2014 12:37 pm
Google Maps for iOS and Android received a major update today, adding a few significant features that will make voice-guided navigation clearer, vacationing easier and catching a cab more enjoyable.
Rolling out today for both platforms, users will now be prompted to stick to a particular lane when guided to exit a highway. Previously, the app would say, “Keep right at the fork,” but wouldn’t advise which lane to keep to. The app will now also advise of quicker or less congested alternate routes during navigation.
Google’s collaboration with other startups has continued unabated, and one in particular shines in this new release. The company has teamed with cab provider Uber, which operates in Toronto and Montreal, as well as dozens of cities around the world, to show how quickly it would take to get home via cab when searching for public transit or walking directions. While clearly a marketing play, Google hopes that it will more easily facilitate alternate forms of travel. Users must also have the Uber app already installed for the travel time to show up.
For transit-takers, Google Maps has added “Depart at” times so users know when the best time is to leave home or the bar in order to catch a bus or streetcar.
Finally, Google Maps now handles offline caching much better than before. The app now saves entire cities for offline use, and maps can be saved in easily-accessible profiles within the main feed. These are then synchronized across devices for easy access.