The core updates are coming to the main screen in the mobile apps. Currently, there are three tabs along the bottom of the app, ‘Explore,’ ‘Commute’ and ‘For you,’ but Google is replacing one and adding two more soon.
Three new tabs make maps even easier to use
Google’s calling the new tabs ‘Saved,’ ‘Contribute’ and ‘Updates.’
Saved is more-or-less a re-skin of the ‘Your places’ menu that was hidden in the sidebar. That means Saved will incorporate places you want to go, places you’ve saved and other lists you might have made.
This is a pretty substantial change since it should help people save more places. The Saved tab is also the new home of your ‘Timeline’ information.
Contribute is another consolidation of a few Maps features into one convenient tab. Google’s blog post says that it’s a place to “share local knowledge, such as details about roads and addresses, missing places, business reviews and photos.” In this tab, the app also asks you to review places you’ve recently been.
Finally, Updates is a space that combines some of the social networking aspects of Maps into one screen. Google says its a “feed of trending, must-see spots from local experts and publishers.” This is also where you chat with businesses to get questions answered.
A new logo
Alongside all the changes, Google also revamped the visual identity of maps.
This time around it’s focusing on the iconic pin that it uses when you select a location. Unlike the in-app pin, which is red, the logo is the colours of Google’s other products.
Padding out the transit featuresThe transit features in Google Maps have been consistently good for telling you how to get from one place to another for years, but in March, the team behind the product is adding even more contextual information to the feature.
If you take a streetcar, bus or subway every day, you know that the experience is always different. Google has added five new categories that will allow people riding the transit option to share what the experience is like for other riders.
Currently, Google lets you report how crowded buses and such are. In the upcoming updates, this is expanding to temperature, accessibility, security onboard, among a few other features that aren’t going to be available in Canada.
This will vary by region and depend on how closely Maps works with your local transit authority.
Ideally, this will help riders learn more about their upcoming trips. It will also be interesting to see if Google is able to draw any interesting conclusions from getting its hands on this much data.