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Google Maps is getting a new look – here’s how to use it

Do you remember the days of road-tripping for family vacations before GPS? Many a fight would break out back then when people too stubborn to pull over and ask for directions would flail away trying to figure out the paper map. Ah, the good old days.

Luckily, technology advancements have changed everything — like Apple Maps’ nifty navigations. Tap or click here for 8 Apple Maps tricks you have to try.

Apple Maps is nice, but you’re more likely to have used Google Maps at some point. If you’re already a fan, you’re going to love its most recent update packed with an impressive new look and easier navigation.

What’s new with Google Maps?

Google Maps is celebrating its 15th birthday with a fresh new look and product updates based on user feedback. Google announced this week that an updated Google Maps app for iOS and Android is already rolling out.

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The redesigned app comes with five easy-to-access tabs. According to Google, here is what you can expect with those:

  1. Explore – Looking for a nearby place to see live music or grab a bite to eat? In the Explore tab, you’ll find information, ratings, reviews and more for nearly 200 million places worldwide, including restaurants, nearby attractions and city landmarks.
  2. Commute – The Commute tab can be used to make sure you’re taking the most efficient route, no matter if you’re traveling by car or public transportation. You can set up your daily commute to receive real-time traffic updates, travel times and suggestions for alternative routes.
  3. Saved – There have been more than 6.5 billion places saved on Google Maps by users. Now you can view them all in one convenient place, as well as find and organize plans for an upcoming trip and share your own recommendations from your experiences.
  4. Contribute – With the new Contribute tab, you can easily share local knowledge, such as details about addresses, roads, missing places, business reviews and more. Each contribution helps others learn about new places that help them decide what to do.
  5. Updates – The new Updates tab provides a feed of the trending, must-see spots from locals. In addition to discovering, saving and sharing recommendations, you can also directly chat with business to get questions answered.
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In addition to the helpful new tabs, you’ll also notice an updated look with a new Google Maps icon. It’s based on a key part of the app from the beginning: the pin.

Google says it represents the shift it’s made from getting you to your destination to also helping you discover new places and experiences.

There’s more to come

The new icon and tabs are already available but more new features will start rolling out globally in March. You can expect to see the following new features that focus on international public transportation:

  • Temperature – For a more comfortable ride, check in advance if the temperature is considered colder or warmer by past riders.
  • Accessibility – If you have special needs or require additional support, you can identify public transit lines with staffed assistance, accessible entrances and seating, accessible stop-buttons or hi-visible LEDs.
  • Women’s Section – In regions where transit systems have designated women’s sections or carriages, Google Maps will help surface this information, along with whether other passengers abide by it.
  • Security Onboard – Feel safer knowing if security monitoring is on board — whether that’s with a security guard present, installed security cams or an available helpline.
  • Number of carriages available – In Japan only, you can pick a route based on the number of carriages so it increases your chances of getting a seat.

You may also like: 7 things you didn’t know Google Search could do until now

Lastly, Google Maps’ Live View augmented reality feature is being expanded. You can use this feature when following a walking route on Google Maps.

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In the coming months, Live View will offer better assistance whenever you’re searching for a new place. You’ll be able to quickly see just how far away a location you’re interested in is and which direction you need to go.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to do some exploring, here it is. Get out there and give the new Google Maps a try. Who knows where you’ll end up?

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