Tech

Google Maps Gets An Update, New Apps, Here's the Breakdown

By Michael Mayday , May 15, 2013 10:43 PM EDT

Google introduced a massive reworking of its ubiquitous Google Maps service during Wednesday's Google I/O developers conference.

The new Maps, which is set to launch later this summer, features a completely redesigned user interface, integrated reviews, Google Earth and a re-worked directions program.

Here's the breakdown:

Design

The design of the new Maps, according to Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps, has been remade for a more personalized experience. With that in mind, Google Maps has been redesigned adopting a more Apple-like vector-based user interface.

Reccomendations

Gone is the focus on search. Or, at least, the focus on the search bar. Google is placing its efforts on cramming as much contextual data as it can. So instead of having a sidebar or screen pop up with results, Maps will have the results pop up over the interface.

The updated search will also come with a cards feature similar to those used in Google Now. The cards will display information on a business, like the address, pictures and Zagat reviews, for users to review. Users can tap on the cards to see photos of the location, take a peak inside the building, or to zoom into Street View.

Google Maps will also incorporate geolocation data unique to each user to show restaurants, bars and locals the user either prefers, based on recurring past visits, or may enjoy based on previous reviews.

Directions

Directions on Maps has been reworked to give users the details they need, and the details they want. Going somewhere and considering public transportation as an option? Maps will route you directly to the nearest hub and provide you with different times and different routes available. Maps even updates directions to take accidents and detours into consideration.

Flights, too, have been incorporated into Maps.

Google Earth

Google is integrating Google Earth into its online version of Maps, including real-time cloud coverage and exploration of the solar system, negating the need to download the Earth application on desktops.

Maps also includes a full 3D to WebGL-enabled browsers like Chrome. Users can also carouse images and tours built into Google Earth.

The new Maps, Google claims, will customize itself to the needs of each user. That requires a lot of data. And, tellingly, Google says Maps will improve the more its used. But the pay off for all that data could be faster, and better, results for the user.

"Everybody gets their own map, every time," Jonah Jones, the lead designer for the new Google Maps, told The New York Times.

Google will slowly roll out the new maps over the next few months, though I/O conference attendees will get an advanced look. But Map enthusiasts without access to I/O credentials aren't entirely out of luck: Google will roll out a preview of Maps to users who sign up here.

The new maps will only be available to desktop users to start, though it will eventually make its way onto iOS and Android devices.

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