Microsoft has announced a major update to the Maps app for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. In addition to highlighting a number of new features, Microsoft is also providing advice for those transitioning from the HERE Maps and the other HERE apps, which will stop working next week.
Let’s start a quick look back at how we got here.
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You may recall that HERE announced it was dropping support for Windows phones back in March, and what a shock that was to the collective ego and identity of the platform and those who still use it. At that time, Microsoft said that “the essence” (I know, ugh, right?) of the HERE apps would “live on” in Windows Maps. But as anyone who actually used Microsoft’s Maps app at the time could tell you, that solution was a pale imitation of HERE’s (formerly Nokia’s) excellent apps.
Fortunately, that changed rather quickly: Responding to the obvious and inevitable groaning from its fans, Microsoft revealed a major update to Windows Maps just days later, adding Local search, offline capability, 3D cities, street imagery, and more, with the stated goal of providing “the best map and navigation experiences on Windows.”
And this week, Windows Maps is getting even better, and the improvements are available to all Windows 10 users—on both PCs and Mobile—and not just to Windows Insiders. Changes include:
Updates to guided navigation. The turn-by-turn navigation experience is now optimized for glanceability, Microsoft says, including phone landscape mode. The app is also easier to use one-handed, thanks to a new layout that puts positioned navigation at the bottom of the screen. And the guided transit experience has also been improved to include bus stop notifications so you don’t have to worry about missing your stop.
Improved search. You can now view multiple searches in a single map view at the same time, Microsoft says, and Maps now labels for your search results directly on the map instead of numbers and a list. You’ll also see new visual effects when you hover over (with a mouse) or selecting a point of interest on the map.
Improved site information. When you select a site on a map, the Windows Maps app displays what Microsoft calls a “details card,” and these cards have been improved with nearby places, sharing, printing, and walking, driving and transit directions.
Improvements to offline maps. Now, saved favorite places are available offline automatically, so you can always get to your destination, even if your phone is offline. And now Cortana will automatically remind you to download offline maps before you leave for a trip, too.
Migration from HERE Maps. The Windows Maps app can now import up to 300 of your favorite places from HERE Maps. Just select the favorite places you want to move forward and you’re good to go.
Speaking of which, I promised that Microsoft had some advice for those migrating from the HERE apps to Windows Maps. It goes like this.
If you’re using Windows 10 (Mobile), you can use that favorite places migration feature. And when you upgrade to the ANniversary update, any remaining HERE apps on your device will be removed automatically. If you’re still using Windows Phone 8.x, the HERE apps will not be automatically removed, and of course they will not be updated going forward as well. This suggests they’ll keep working, of course, but Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10 (Mobiel) switching to Windows Maps.