Google Maps turns 15, launches new interface, updates, and accessible features for our commute and travels
Gone are the days when pulling up on the side of the road and whipping out a piece of paper to navigate uncharted territory was a normality. With one billion active users worldwide, the creation of Google Maps has revolutionised the way we navigate and commute in our day-to-day life. Struggling to ask locals for directions in a foreign country? Google Maps will guide you there and recommend top places to visit. Afraid of missing that important job interview whilst stuck in traffic? Google Maps' real-time traffic conditions has got you covered. Stock-piled images got you second guessing your travel plans? Have no fear, crowdsourcing is here — decked with photographs and reviews, this feature ensures no let-downs and fake news will transpire.
On top of these useful developments, Google Maps integrated new features like the Live View last year, which allows you to see directions real time whilst heading to your destination — perfect for the directionally-challenged. Another valuable addition is their food highlight recommendations, where users can see popular restaurant dishes through a series of user-generated photos and reviews. Now, with its 15th anniversary this year, Google Maps celebrates by implementing a host of even newer features, revolutionising the way we use maps today. By making it even more efficient and convenient — if that's even possible.
A brand new interface
The first batch of fresh enhancements are available to Android and iOS users and they are found in five easily located tabs. The tab 'Explore' allows users to effortlessly locate the nearest live music to blow off some steam by jamming out to your go-to tunes. It also recommends fun arcade games to play with your close friends. If you're not feeling up to that and just want a quick bite, scroll through an array of local restaurants at your disposal. Comprising of over 200 million places around the world, you will never feel bored or uncertain with your trusty 'Explore' tab. Now, everybody and their mother knows that peak hour traffic can be insufferable. The 'Commute' tab promises to take care of all your troubles by giving you the most efficient route and real-time traffic updates — so even by car or train, Google Maps has got your back. Ever wanted to look at all your saved places on Google Maps in one convenient tab? Introducing the new 'Saved' tab. The best part? You can now organise plans for upcoming trips and view all those places you have been dying to visit in one safe spot.
Predictions for our comfort and safety
If you haven't heard, Google Maps introduced crowded predictions last year — with a name that is pretty much self-explanatory — a travel assistance guide that uses data from previous riders to predict numerous concerns. The first on the list is a temperature adviser, predicting how cool or warm a train or bus ride is —eschewing the trying burden of whether or not to bring along a jacket. Now if that doesn't seem so important to you, the 'Accessibility' detail is undoubtably a crucial addition. People with special needs can now pinpoint which public transit lines have staffed assistance, accessible entrance, and seating arrangements — a simple stop-button press away. And if you are ever feeling scared to board, the 'Security Onboard' feature will indicate whether or not a security guard is present with an available helpline to dial if it comes to that.
Other nifty life hacks
Lastly, Google Maps has generously offered us some tips and tricks on how to use their app to its fullest potential. One of the most exciting new features enables you to save your parking location so that you never have to ask the daunting question: "Where did I park my car?". Similarly, if you've ever been lost in the middle of nowhere with no 4G to save you, download an area of the map, allowing you to use Google Maps even when you are offline — a true life saver indeed. And if you're lost in a foreign country with no help in sight, Google Maps will translate names and addresses. By linking up with Google Translate, you can even play an audio recording of the place's name in the local language. Business professionals out there can also tap on the app with Google Map's website creation feature. You can now create a simple and free website with customised themes and photos. Did we mention that you can do this in just under ten minutes? — talk about revolutionary convenience.