This week, Google sidestepped their usual "Update Wednesday" strategy by dropping a huge update to their Maps app for both Android and iOS. We're accustomed to seeing new features and bug fixes to their stable of apps on Wednesdays, but today's Maps update was presumably big enough to get its own release day (it's Tuesday, folks).
Today's bump up to version 8.0.0 (Android) and 3.0.0 (iOS) brings some impressive features, along with the usual bug fixes:
If you have the Uber app installed, Google Maps will now make it much easier to skip the walk or bus ride in order to get to your location. Search for a location and choose either transit or pedestrian route methods, then scroll to the bottom of the route options.
Hit the Get an Uber option to launch directly into the app and set a pickup location. Google's integration makes this a seamless process (as long as you've already signed in to the Uber app), and it's clear they've chosen their winning horse in the Lyft versus Uber race.
Once you've got a destination set and hit the Start navigation button, you'll notice some changes off the bat.
Old Maps on the left, new Maps on the right
Next turn indicators are on the right side (along with the compass), and new lane indicators adorn the bottom right of the screen. Additionally, all destination estimates are joined together along the bottom, showcasing the ETA, distance, and estimated arrival time (old version required a tap-through to see each metric).
Hit the three-dot menu key along the bottom panel to check out the updated menu.
A more visual selection replaces the old list, and a new Alternate routes option is available to show not only the various other routes on a map, but their estimated ETAs.
You may have noticed that "Route preview" is missing from the new version, but fret not, you simply have to tap or drag up from the bottom panel.
Now when you search a location, you'll have the option to easily save that Map for offline use (or when you have a slow connection), which is a lot easier than previous methods for saving offline maps. Simply scroll to the bottom of the search page, tap Save map to use offline.
From the following screen, you can adjust angles (pan) and zoom, then just hit the Save button on the bottom.
Along with the big additions above, you can also see total walking time for trips when using transit results, as well as the next scheduled bus or train. And if you've recently saved or search-for a place, you'll see a "Places to review" list once you've signed into the app. Finally, search filters, like price ratings and hours of operation, are new enabled for places.
Overall, this is a big update, and you need to grab it. Even if you're in an area without Uber service, the new navigation screen and offline maps capabilities are more than enough to warrant a download.
Update not hit your device yet? If you're an Android user, grab the app directly here (just make sure you have "Unknown sources" enabled in your device's Security settings). iOS users, just keep refreshing!