Google Maps Turns 15, Gets New Features, Icon

Google this week is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the launch of Google Maps by adding several new features to the service. It’s even getting a hip new icon.

“Since 2005, we’ve pushed the limits of what a map can do, from helping you easily navigate from point A to B, to helping you explore and get things done in the world,” Google’s Dane Glasgow writes. “With more than 1 billion people turning to Google Maps to see and explore the world, we’re celebrating our 15th birthday with a new look and product updates based on feedback from you.”

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Here’s what’s new.

Updated mobile app. Google Maps is being updated on Android and iOS with a new user interface that features five tabs—Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute, and Updates—replacing the previous two (Explore and Commute).

New icon. The new Google Maps icon is based on the ubiquitous “pin” UI that the service has used since the early days, but done up in colorful Google colors.

New transit insights. Building off of the crowd predictions it introduced last year, Google Maps will now provide transit information about temperature, accessibility, women’s’ sections, onboard security, and, in Japan only, the number of carriages available on each train.

Live View improvements. Live View combines Street View’s real-world imagery with machine learning and smartphone sensors to create an augmented reality experience. And it’s being enhanced this year with new capabilities, starting with better assistance when searching for a place.

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Conversation 7 comments

  • brduffy

    06 February, 2020 - 3:52 pm

    <p>I have never been happy with how Google and Apple handle offline maps. If you were to load your location online while at home for instance and then start your journey then it will take you there without internet access which is good. But I prefer to have maps downloaded to my phone by region and updated periodically so that I can load a destination while out on the road without internet access. Google and Apple have a way to choose a region but the implementation is crappy and its more trouble than its worth. I use Here WeGo maps for this purpose and it works pretty well. I can download the entire US and put it on my phone if I want, though I choose to just downloads states around me. Still, I would rather see Apple and Google do things this way so I can hook up my phone to my car play and view my maps on the built in screen. </p>

    • LocalPCGuy

      06 February, 2020 - 4:00 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#518716">In reply to brduffy:</a></em></blockquote><p>I use Goggle Maps Offline Maps feature all the time. In options, select Offline maps, and select and then download the area you want saved locally. It uses the GPS on your phone, even when there is no cell service.</p>

      • brduffy

        06 February, 2020 - 4:07 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#518719"><em>In reply to LocalPCGuy:</em></a><em> I have tried that before. Selecting and downloading the area you want did not work well at all for me. Maybe it has gotten better. The way I remember it was that the area available to download from was pretty small and could very well not cover the area you are in when you want to search for new directions off line.</em></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><p><br></p>

      • truerock2

        06 February, 2020 - 5:18 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#518719"><em>In reply to LocalPCGuy:</em></a></blockquote><p>Google Maps lets you download a maximum of 150 miles by 300 miles</p>

        • darkgrayknight

          Premium Member
          06 February, 2020 - 5:42 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#518732">In reply to truerock2:</a></em></blockquote><p>Why do they have a maximum? This seems like a poor design decision.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      07 February, 2020 - 3:51 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#518716">In reply to brduffy:</a></em></blockquote><p>I have the Falke atlas in my car door pocket.</p>

  • nicholas_kathrein

    07 February, 2020 - 11:29 am

    <p>Nice. Maps is one of those apps that can be unappreciated but it's vital. </p>

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