Google Maps: A new, smarter way to get to where you are going

As soon as I found out I could sign up to try the new Google Maps you know I did so right away!

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Talking with a coworker and going through some of the features we found that the update is one he'll of an update. New, smarter search boxes, Images, integrative search, indoor views, where friends have gone and more is only the beginning.

Search Box

The search location is now slimmed down to a little box in the upper left hand corner compared to the old Google Maps that took up the whole left side -making the viewing area smaller. It's the starting point for a user's discovery and will allow quick access to recent searches, directions, transit, traffic, and bicycling information.

Underneath the search box is "Getting Around" where a user can choose which type of transportation they are using whether it be car, bike, walking, bus and more. The map also integrates all options when viewing directions. All routes are now available to view at the same time instead of having to load a new map!

Results are now labeled right on the map after searching for a specific item. Like the old Google Maps the most relevant pop out to a user. Instead of the pin that the old version uses the new version now shows the most relevant results as the largest and there are unique icons that help identify what types of businesses they are. Restaurants have a little knife and fork icon, transit has a T icon, gas stations have a gas pump, and retail stores have a little shopping bag.

Discover More With Info Cards

To go along with the new Cards Interface that Google rolled out with Google Glass, Google Maps now has information cards that go along with a location.

These cards will have every piece of information a user is looking for such as reviews, ratings, photos, street view, directions and basic business information. What I found most appealing with these cards is the photo carousel at the bottom when you choose a photo. This allows the feature to be morenavigableand has a clearer display without bringing the user to a whole new page.

The second thing that I found great is for restaurants. Zagat ratings are now incorporated into these cards so a user does not have to do a separate search or visit the Google Places page for the location. The rating, number of reviews, price range and Zagat ratings are all available on this little card without ever having to leave the page.

A user can also star the location which saves this to the favorites. google will remember this and share this with friends in a user's circle. And clicking anywhere on the map will bring up the information card associated with that location

A New Perspective

With the new Google Maps a user can now discover even more with the street view, satellite imagery, photo tours and more.

At the bottom right hand corner there is an arrow icon with the zoom in and out buttons. When a user clicks on this a photo carousel opens at the bottom of the screen. This is the Explore feature and shows relevant, important or monumental buildings and other structures that are in the area. If a person is new to town this is a great tool to find new and exciting attractions.

Searching a City

Of course I had to search Minneapolis as soon as I was done with the tutorial. When searching a city an information card pops up bit is a bit different than a specific business.

These cards have photo tours, photos, street views and the ability to explore the area and finding new ways to get around. The Google Places app does a great job with exploring the area and I am glad they integrated this more with the map search making it oneseamlessexperience.

Explore Your Circles

The more a person uses Google+ and Google Maps the better the experience is going to be. Google Maps now integrates your circles when searching for something. This is great when you want to know what others in the area think of a restaurant, bar, retail store or whatever else it is that you are searching for.

Of course, you will have to have quite a few people in your Google Circles in order for this to work effectively. I will definitely start building my circles up now that this is a hot new feature.

There is a Top Reviewers option as well and will show the reviews from the "experts"

Your Favorites

In the past I have saved a few restaurants to my favorites and have reviewed various other businesses as well.

Now these businesses show up differently than the others. One business I reviewed was Mama's Pizza in Saint Paul. If you look at the image below you can see that it shows up differently than the other places in the area. It is an orange icon and always displays the name.

This is nice because it is a friendly reminder that I have been to that certain place and should probably go back sometime soon.

Directions

The directions on the new Google Maps is great. The switch between car, bus, walking, biking and airplane is easy. The load times are incredibly quick and is a bit easier to look at now.

My favorite feature of the directions is when I chose to take the bus. The bus routes are now imbedded with the line of passage for the directions (view image). Trying to get to Mama's Pizza from my neighborhood shows that I need to take the 3 Bus. It shows the stops and the timing of each bus. Great job on this one Google.

Final Thoughts

I am thoroughly impressed with the new Google Maps and hope the Google Maps app will be as easy to use as the browser desktop/laptop version.

It looks great, feels great and is quicker than before. The info cards give way for more of the map to be revealed and there is now more integration with imagery and interesting locations in the area.

With the integration of Google+ circles this can really become the one stop place to find where I want to eat, visit and head to next. Now I just need to find more people on Google+ that will share this experience!

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Posted in Health and Medical Post Date 03/03/2019


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