It’s tough for most of us to recall what life was like before the invention of Google Maps. Remember printing out your MapQuest directions and trying to read and drive at the same time? Totally safe! For its 15th birthday, Google Maps is getting a fresh look on iOS and Android, along with more information for public transportation, improvements to Live View, and even a fun limited-time party car icon.
The most noticeable update to Google Maps on mobile devices is its new layout, which has been redesigned to feature five tabs: Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute, and Updates.
As before, the Explore tab will provide info on nearby attractions such as restaurants or music venues, while Commute is there to help you plan the best route from home to work (or vice versa) while also providing real-time updates about traffic, alternates routes, and more.
The Saved tab gives you a faster and easier way to access all locations and places you dropped pins on in Google Maps, while also providing an easier way to share your saved places with others.
Then there’s the Contribute tab, which should make it easier to provide feedback and create reviews on places you’ve been to. Additionally, for anyone who participates in Google’s Local Guides program, the Contribute tab should serve as a much easier portal when it comes to contributing info to Google Maps itself.
And rounding out the new Google Maps design is the Updates tab (which sort of replaces the old You tab), which contains a feed of new, trending, and must-see locations, including picks and recommendations from various outlets like The Infatuation, local experts, and more. In the Updates tab, you may also be able to chat directly with businesses, so you don’t necessarily need to call or visit them in person.
And on top of all this, Google is revamping the Google Maps icon with a red, blue, yellow, and green icon to match Google’s traditional multi-coloured logo.
As for public transportation, Google is adding info for buses, subways, and trains to include details about temperature, accessibility, onboard security, and if there any designated women’s sections. Also, for anyone in Japan, Google will even provide info on the number of available carriages on a specific route.
Google says much of this info comes from previous riders, so to help keep Google Maps’ information as up-to-date as possible, Google will also be rolling out new global surveys starting in March.
Finally, following its debut last year, Google is improving Live View with new AR overlays, which combine real-world photos with direction arrows that will help point you in the right direction, so you can get where you’re going faster.