Google Maps is celebrating 15 years of living on our smartphones. The navigation app changed the game, putting precise navigation in our pockets. Now, on its 15th anniversary, it’s got a major overhaul and will finally display speed limits in Android Auto.
If you open your phone you’ll notice the logo has changed. It’s now a ‘dropped pin’ with the Google colours across it. Tap it, and the changes are more than thumbnail-deep.
Gone is the ‘hamburger’ menu, replaced with tabs at the bottom of the app. At the top, there’s a standard search menu, with some keywords you can scroll through and tap, depending on what you want to find.
‘Explore’, ‘Commute’ and ‘For you’ are the primary tabs at the bottom. ‘Saved’, ‘Contribute’ and ‘Updates’ should join in the coming months. Commute is the practical lifesaver if you’re driving or using public transport. It delivers everything from real-time traffic information to alternative routes, delays, and estimated travel times. It will also show local details shared by other users, like the temperature and details about a specific train.
‘Explore’ is the traditional free-roam map view, allowing you to look at the area you’re currently in, or zoom out to a worldwide view. ‘For you’ is quite clever in that it uses your Google profile and preferences you’ve set up, to suggest destinations and locations you may be interested in.
‘Contribute’ brings more general Google functionality into Maps, allowing you to upload photos, add places and review destinations. ‘Updates’ will let you chat with businesses, discover recommendations from people you know, and show a list of hotspots curated by contributors and publishers.
All of this should translate to Android Auto, as will, for UK users specifically, the return of the display of the local speed limit.
“In 2005, we set out to map the world,” Google’s statement on the update reads.
“Since then we’ve pushed the limits of what a map can do: from helping you easily navigate from point A to B, to helping you explore and get things done in the world. With more than 1 billion people turning to Google Maps to see and explore the world, we’re celebrating our 15th birthday with a new look and product updates based on feedback from you.
“Starting today, you’ll see an updated Google Maps app for Android and iOS that gives you everything you need at your fingertips with five easy-to-access tabs: Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute and Updates.”