Out of all of the exciting news from Google’s recent announcements, one of the most exciting was its new Maps. I’ve been testing Google’s new Maps and am impressed with the additional features it offers.
The new Maps can be accessed via an invitation from Google. When I was researching last week’s article, I requested an invitation and got one a few days later. Once you learn about the changes, you’ll want to sign up for an invitation to check out the new Google Maps too.
What’s New with Google Maps
The new Google Maps takes the best features of Google Maps and blends them into a single service, so you get maps, Google Street View and Google Earth on one screen without any downloads required. You get much more information, presented with engaging new views.
The new Google Maps are dynamic – as you click around the screen, the map changes to show you new places of interest, directions, roads, transportation options and nearby places. The new Maps include user and business photos so you can view images without having to leave the site. Six new European countries will have bicycle routes included on the new Maps.
Google Maps’ search is smarter, showing you recent searches, directions, and transportation options. When you do a search in Maps, results are labeled on the map so you can see their locations. You can filter the results by top reviews or by recommendations from your Google Plus friends.
Click on a road to get to Street View. Below the Street View window is a gallery of images of the area, including Street View images, business photos and photo tours. You can also access Earth View, showing you the satellite image of the area, as well as a 3D rendering of the area.
When you click on a spot on the map, an Information Card will appear that gives you directions, photos, reviews, friends’ recommendations and additional information.
The Google Earth window appears in the lower left corner. Click on it to open the Google Earth view. Use the controls in the lower right corner to zoom in and tilt the map to get a different perspective of the map as if you’re flying above the Earth. Leave yourself some time to try this — it’s very cool.
You can also zoom in to get a 3D view of your location. You can see buildings and other structures instead of just a flat, two-dimensional map.
You can click on Directions to find out how to get to your location via car, public transportation, bicycle and walking. Public transportation directions show you alternate routes with the estimated travel times and number of transfers for all of your options. You can adjust the time of your departure to see more public transit options.
Maps also updates your estimated travel time based on current traffic conditions and offers to reroute your journey if traffic conditions are causing delays. You can see side-by-side travel times to judge whether you want to take an alternate route.
Google Maps learns what you like and makes smart recommendations for locations based on your likes, your Google Plus friends’ reviews and your past history with Maps. Maps integrates with Google Plus to help learn your interests and tailor its recommendations accordingly.
Google Maps will also show you deals tailored to your interests. A retailer might offer you a deal when you click on that location.
You can sign up for a preview access to the New Google Maps: Preview Access Google Maps. You may have to wait a few days for an email invitation from Google. If you try the new maps and don’t like them, you can easily switch back to the old maps.
Here’s another preview video to show you what the new Google Maps has to offer the world:
Have you signed up for the new Google Maps yet? Have you tried the new features? Which features excite you the most? Do you think the new Google Maps will help improve your score on Geoguessr? Let us know in the Comments section below!
For more fun tech, check out my guest post at Tech Ivy: For a Smile: Dear Blank, Please Blank.