Over the past few years, Google has been pushing its Collections feature, which allows users to collect and store interesting or useful information from across the web and curate content for collaboration. This feature has been integrated into pretty much all of Google’s services, including Maps.
When you save a place in Google Maps, it appears as a bookmark icon that you can easily access later. This feature is incredibly useful for people who travel frequently or have a long list of places they want to visit (like me) and these places do, in fact, appear in Google Collections by visiting google.com/save.
Now, Google is taking this feature one step further. The website is starting to show a sidebar on the left side of the screen for some users with icons for their Saved and Recent places, as well as a hamburger menu and visual indicators for their most recently searched places.
I think this is a fantastic addition for users who want to quickly access these frequented locations without having to manually search for them every time. Clicking on individual locations inside of this sidebar will open the entire listing in the familiar Maps side panel, giving you directions, photos, reviews, and everything else you’re accustomed to seeing when you pull something up.
This sidebar approach is similar to what Google has done with other services like Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts over the past few years. It provides a more thoughtful usage of screen real estate, and I’m a fan of it.
As usual, it seems that this update is a server-side change, meaning that not everyone will have access to it right away. So far, only 9to5Google has spotted it on one of their accounts, seemingly confirming this. I know a lot of people are kind of annoyed by the amount of stuff Google is stuffing into sidebars these days, but I do see value in it. Let me know in the comments if you like this or think it’s a waste of your display space.