When you have a product as solid as Google Maps, you don’t mess with it too much. Still, we can always appreciate the little tweaks that go into making a great thing greater, and there’s a lot to appreciate with Google’s latest update to Maps.
First of all, there’s something that hasn’t been seen much before – third party integration with Google Maps. We saw this a little bit when Google started including Zagat ratings for restaurants, and now we have Uber integration. ETAs for Uber rides will now appear alongside driving, cycling, walking, and public transportation directions, and if you think Uber is the most convenient option, you can launch the Uber app with a tap right from Maps.
A few long-desired new features have also arrived, the most notable of which is offline maps. You can save the map of an entire area for use later on, which you can search for in your phone at any time. For public transportation directions, you now have the option to select specific ‘depart at’ or ‘arrive by’ times, so you can better plan your day. There are also more filters available when searching for restaurants and bars, including opening hours, closing hours, rating, and price. If you see a place you might want to visit later on, but don’t have the time, you can now save that place’s card on Google Maps as a favorite, so you can remember to check it out later.
As for being a backseat driver, Google will be a pretty good one – on top of giving you driving directions, the app will also tell you which lane you should be in, or when you should change lanes if your exit is coming up. To their credit, Google will probably be a less annoying backseat driver than that one guy. You know the one.