It’s hard to imagine a world without Google Maps. Just the other day I was talking to a friend about how we would get directions when we were younger. We would either print out directions from MapQuest or we would scribble down some directions from a relative who would try to recall all the turns from memory. With more than 1 billion users, Google Maps is now turning 15 years old and has changed the way we get directions and explore the world. To celebrate, Google has announced a new icon for the service and some cool new features.
Let’s start with the new icon you might have noticed in your app shelf; the simplified design now features just a location pin on a clean white background. The inside of the pin features the iconic Google colors and a grid layout that is made to represent a city street. The overall feel is very on-brand for Google and closely resembles other icons like Home, Drive, Assistant, and Fit.
Google says the new icon is intended to represent a shift that Maps has made from simply “getting you to your destination” to “helping you discover new places and experiences.” As part of this shift, Google has updated the app to include an increased focus on user-submitted contributions and updates of what’s trending. These shifts are reflected in the five tabs along the bottom of the app that now say: Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute, and Updates.
The ‘Updates’ tab is particularly interesting because it will not only create a feed of interesting spots that are being talked about by local experts and publishers but will also let users directly chat with businesses. Google has positioned business listings in Maps as the go-to source for information and now if you have questions you won’t have to call or go the website to find a contact form: you can simply send a message and chat with the business in Google Maps.
Google also announced some other new features that help you get around, like more crowdsourced information for public transit and a new lightweight version of the augmented-reality Live View feature. These features will start rolling out globally in March and the transit feature availability will vary by region and municipal transportation agency.
Lastly, for a limited time, you can opt for a celebratory party-themed car icon when you get directions. Look for the small, white car to the right of the ‘start’ button when you go to launch directions. The new icon and app resigned rolled out last week so check it out and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Do you like the new icon?
Source: The Keyword