Google Maps Android Redesign Makes Traffic Info And Commute Times Easily Accessible

Google Maps on Android is getting a makeover. The app will now incorporate three easily accessible tabs on the bottom of the home screen to help users find a nearby restaurant, catch the next bus, or keep an eye out on their commute.

The “Places” tab will include a curated list of restaurants for the user’s current or chosen location. Categories will include “best dinners,” “cheap eats” or “business dining”. Users will also be able to tap to find ATM’s, gas stations, grocery stores, etc.
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There is a “Driving” tab as well, where users can input their home and work address. The tab will let users know the estimated length of their commute, traffic conditions, and any expected delays. If users do not need directions but still want to receive traffic updates, they can tap on “start driving” to go into driving mode. Google also has your back if you take the bus to and from work. Users can put their home and work addresses under the “Transit” tag and receive bus and train notifications. Users can also see which bus or train is coming next, find out ETA’s, and scroll through the transit station’s real-time schedules.

Google Maps received several updates this past year. In July, the app started to warn users of major transit delays and offered a Wi-Fi only option. This past holiday season, the “popular times” feature of Google maps provided real-time crowd updates. Google’s offline mode was also a welcome update to those who do not always have or do not always want to use cellular data.

Google Maps is beginning to face some stiff competition from Apple Maps. Apple began testing aerial drones at the end of last year in order to quickly monitor changes to roads, record new construction and even identify road signs The drones would reportedly be faster and provide a much larger amount of data than the fleet of sensor-laden minivans that Apple previously employed. There is no word yet on whether Google will follow suit.