Google Maps turns 15 on Thursday, and Google is celebrating the milestone accordingly. The navigation app is easily one of the most popular and useful apps Google made so far, and a must-have app on any smartphone, regardless of the operating system. Google has updated Maps in the past year extensively, tweaking its design, and adding various new features, including augmented reality (AR) directions, support for incognito browsing, Waze-like crowdsourced incident reports, and better commuting experiences. But Google saved a significant update for the app to celebrate its 15th birthday. Starting today, you’re getting a new Google Maps logo, a major redesign, as well as a few new tricks.
The first thing you’re going to notice once you update the app on Android and iPhone is the new logo. It’s a colorful version of the pin that you’ve been dropping on Maps for the past 15 years.
But what you’ll really care about is what happens after you open the app. And Google made some big changes in there two, extending the bottom menu to five tabs, including Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute, and Updates.
The Explore tab will contain information from the places near you, whether it’s food or entertainment, and it’ll work just as did before.
The Commute menu is also unchanged. That’s where you get to set your daily commute to receive real-time traffic information, travel times, and suggestion.
The For You tab is gone, however. Instead, you’ll find three new tabs, including Saved, Contribute, and Updates. The Saved tab will let you all the nearby attractions you might be interested in and can come in handy when you’re traveling or sightseeing. The Contribute menu lest you add details about the places you visit with Maps, as well as write up reviews and upload photos if that’s something you want to do in Maps. Finally, the Updates section provides information about what’s happening near you from local experts and publishers.
On top of these changes, Google also released a few exciting features that can improve your commute. Transit information will now deliver a few additional details about your upcoming rides. Maps will display temperature and accessibility details, and it’ll tell you whether your ride has security onboard or a women’s section. Japan users will also get to pick a route based on the number of carriages available, to increase their chances of getting a seat.
These features will start rolling out in March and will expand gradually to more markets. Google also said that it’ll send out surveys to riders to improve the service. In other words, don’t be surprised if you won’t see this extra data everywhere Google Maps might take you.
Finally, Google is also improving Live View. In the coming months, the Google Maps mode that lets you overlay navigation data over actual imagery of your surroundings while walking the streets of your city, will help you discover the place you’re looking for by indicating the correct direction and telling you how far your destination is.