Google Maps Gets A Redesign, New Features As Popular Navigation App Turns 15

google maps 15

Time flies when you’re having fun. Google Maps is turning fifteen years old in 2020. Google Maps is celebrating its 15th birthday with updated tabs, upcoming features, and a fresh logo. The new look and features are intended to improve navigation, encourage exploration, and provide information about public transportation.

Google Maps is kicking off the birthday with a celebratory logo, which includes a pin to represent the evolution of Google Maps over the last fifteen years. There will also be a temporary party-themed car icon that will appear when users use the app to navigate.

Google Maps will add five tabs that will appear on the bottom of the app-- Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute, and Updates. These features have been available in Google Maps for some time, but they have not always been easy to find. “Explore” provides users with information such as ratings and reviews for nearby attractions, restaurants, etc. “Commute” includes traffic updates and travel times. “Saved” allows users to save locations they wish to visit in the future. This feature is particularly handy when traveling. Users can provide reviews, photos, and information about locations through “Contribute”. “Update” includes details about new locations and upcoming events in your area. The new tabs will begin rolling out for Android and iOS today. 

A few public transit features will be added over the next few months. Users will soon be able to comment on the temperature inside a public transit vehicle, the vehicle’s accessibility features, and the presence (or lack thereof) of security monitoring. The ability to report accessibility features is useful for those who many need assistance, accessible entrances and seating, or other forms of support.

A few features will appear in specific regions. In Japan, users will be informed about the number of overall carriages that are available. Some users will be able to note when a transit system has “women-only carriages” and whether this designation is enforced. Women’s carriages tend to be more common in Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

google maps public transit notes

Last but not least, Google Maps plans to expand the capabilities of Live View. Live View was introduced this past summer and provides directions through augmented reality (AR). Some of the new upcoming features include the ability to see in which direction your desired location is.

Google Maps has had an immense impact on many, even in ways we could not have necessarily anticipated. It is now a prevalent tool in many of our lives. It will be interesting to see how the app continues to evolve over the next few years.