Google Maps adds more crowdsourced transit data and gets a new navigation bar
Google is updating Google Maps on Android and iOS with a revamped tab bar at the bottom, a new icon and a couple of new features. In particular, the company is putting more emphasis on user-generated content and recommendations.
At the bottom of the app, you now get five icons — Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute and Updates. You could already save places and add more information to a Google Maps listing, but those features are now more visible. They’re no longer hidden in a side menu.
The Saved tab lets you easily access your saved places, lists and maps. You can also access the creepy timeline of all your past activity from the same menu now — you can disable location history in your Google account settings.
With the Contribute tab, you can see all your past contributions (reviews, photos, etc.) but also add content directly from that menu. In addition to reviews and photos, you can now directly suggest an edit and add a place from that menu instead of searching for a place and then adding or editing a place.
Finally, the Updates tab combines two existing features in a single view — a feed of recommendation (“For You”) as well messages from businesses. Google added the ability to message businesses in November 2018, but the inbox was a bit buried.
As for crowdsourced transit data, Google is expanding transit data beyond crowdedness reports. Google Maps prompts users to give more information about your bus or train ride at the end of the trip.
Users will now get prompts about the temperature, accessibility features and the presence of security cameras or security guards. In some regions, you’ll be able to say if there’s a women’s section. In Japan, Google Maps will offer you to pick a route with more carriages. Those features will roll out in March.
The company is also announcing some improvements to Live View, the feature that lets you see your route using augmented reality. For instance, you’ll be able to see a pin with your destination so that you get a better sense of where you should be headed.
Finally, Google is updating the Google Maps logo. It’s a more minimalistic Google-colored pin.