Science and Tech


Here's A Hands-On Look At The Google Maps Update

Google Maps was updated Tuesday to include lane guidance, offline maps, more detailed transit information and Uber integration.
Posted at 6:15 PM, May 06, 2014

 Google pushed a big Maps update to iOS and Android users Tuesday. Have you updated yet?

If not, check it out. The app doesn't feature many cosmetic changes, but next time you use its built-in navigation, Google will give you "lane guidance."

A writer for Android Community says, "That's helpful for 'left turns' that are really soft lefts into various exits, leaving you guessing and glancing at your phone."

And once you arrive, no more worrying about cell signal. Google Maps lets you save maps to use offline.

Make sure you're signed into the app under "settings." Search for the area you want to save, and you'll see the option below.

For you transit types, you'll notice the app now includes both total walk time and how often the bus shows up at your particular stop.

But if you still miss it, Google's got you covered.

Or rather, Uber does. Click this Uber option, and Google will redirect you to the app. 

This little button has tech media buzzing. Uber is the biggest ride-sharing app out there, but it has some notable competitors. 

TechCrunch writes, "Uber is also a Google Ventures portfolio company, so it begs the question of whether or not this is some kind of sweetheart deal, though Google always maintains its venture arm operates independently from the rest of the organization."

These new features — hey, even some of the old features, like public transit info — put even more pressure on the Apple Maps update we might see on iOS 8.

Although we don't know for sure what Apple is planning, GottaBeMobile is all but ready to call it DOA. "We might see the big Apple Maps improvements, but so far the company has done little to vastly improve one of its worst software products ever made."

We could know more next month, which is when Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference will be held. But for now, the new Google Maps is available in the App Store and on Google Play.