Google Maps turns 15: Here are the new features

Google Maps

The new Google Maps logo | Image Google Maps

You will now find five tabs at the bottom of the screen: Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute, and Updates.

The Commute tab is what you'll use to find the most efficient route to a location. This would be the tab to turn to when you've just arrived in a new city and are bored out of your gourd. Set up your daily commute to get real-time traffic updates, travel times and suggestions for alternative routes. A Reddit post suggests that Google Maps, the world's most popular mapping software will start to show speed limits next to current speed within a single elliptical bubble from now on. In this tab, one can share information about a local area including business reviews, photos, addresses, etc. Meanwhile, Updates is a consolidation of the old For you shortcut and the Following section and is "a feed of trending, must-see spots from local experts and publishers", as Google calls it.

As for the design change and the new logo for Google Maps, the company says that "It's based on a key part of Google Maps since the very beginning-the pin- and represents the shift we've made from getting you to your destination to also helping you discover new places and experiences".

Google has expanded its AR functionality (available on Android phones) to lets users easily access a live view button within Explore so they can get oriented and see which direction they should go. But Google's global footprint along with its ability to crowdsource user data have been big advantages.

If you take public transportation, you'll get feedback from those who rode a particular train or bus route about the temperature inside the vehicle and whether said vehicle is accessible to disabled commuters.

"Explore" is the traditional free-roam map view, allowing you to look at the area you're now in, or zoom out to a worldwide view.

Regardless of which navigation app you prefer, there's no denying the prevalence of Google Maps. While Apple Maps has gotten considerably better over the years, Google's offering is still better.

The updated app also boasts a new look, including a new icon on the phone and browser, and a celebratory party-themed auto icon for navigation.

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