Alphabet Inc’s Google Maps on Thursday launched a redesign that gathers users’ reviews and photos of places they visit, seeking to grow its data in a field led by local search apps such as Zomato, TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Starting today, you'll see an updated Google Maps app for Android and iOS that features five tabs: Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute and Updates.
- Explore: In the Explore tab, you’ll find information, ratings, reviews and more for about 200 million places around the world, including local restaurants, nearby attractions and city landmarks.
- Commute: The Commute tab will make sure you’re on the most efficient route. Set up your daily commute to get real-time traffic updates, travel times and suggestions for alternative routes.
- Saved: Now you can view all of the spots you have saved in one place, as well as find and organize plans for an upcoming trip and share recommendations based on places you've been.
- Contribute: With the new Contribute tab, you can share local knowledge, such as details about roads and addresses, missing places, business reviews and photos.
- Updates: The new Updates tab provides you with a feed of trending, must-see spots from local experts and publishers, like The Infatuation. In addition to discovering, saving and sharing recommendations with your network, you can also directly chat with businesses to get questions answered.
Google is also updating our look with a new Google Maps icon. It’s based on a key part of Google Maps since the very beginning—the pin.
Last year, Google introduced crowdedness predictions to help you see how crowded your bus, train or subway is likely to be based on past rides. To help you plan your travels, the company is adding new insights about your route from past riders, so you’ll be able to see important details, such as:
- Temperature: For a more comfortable ride, check in advance if the temperature is considered by past riders as on the colder or warmer side.
- Accessibility: If you have special needs or require additional support, you can identify public transit lines with staffed assistance, accessible entrance and seating, accessible stop-button or hi-visible LED.
- Women’s Section: In regions where transit systems have designated women's sections or carriages, we'll 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 cameras or an available helpline.
- Number of carriages available: In Japan only, you can pick a route based on the number of carriages so that it increases your chances of getting a seat.
Last year, Google introduced Live View to help you quickly decide which way to go when you start a walking route with Google Maps. By combining Street View’s real-world imagery, machine learning and smartphone sensors, Live View in Google Maps shows you your surroundings with the directions overlaid in augmented reality.
Over the coming months, Google will be expanding Live View and testing new capabilities, starting with better assistance whenever you’re searching for a place. You’ll be able to quickly see how far away and in which direction a place is.
Google's move could draw concern from Yelp Inc, TripAdvisor Inc and other companies that have encouraged antitrust investigations into whether Google has improperly used its dominance in search to popularize its newer tools, such as restaurant comparison.
Apple’s maps app, which launched seven years ago, takes a different approach by incorporating reviews and photos from services such as Yelp.
Google is providing ads though Google Maps, and having even more users using it for data on places and transit would expand advertising opportunities.