Google Maps is releasing an update, which is rolling out incrementally to users. This update provides us with a lot more utility than we’ve come to know with Maps, improving everything from navigation to offline maps. There are a lot of working parts to the update, but it should give all of us more reason than we already had for using it.
When using Maps for turn-by-turn directions, it will now tell you which lane to be in so you don’t miss an exit. That’s helpful for “left turns” that are really soft lefts into various exits, leaving you guessing and glancing at your phone. Google is also making offline maps easier to save, find, and use. Once you get a map you think you might need when offline (great for hiking), save it and it’s accessible from the menu.
If you’re in a city that offers Uber, you’ll find using it a lot easier in Maps. You can compare your Uber trip to public transit to find which is the best route for you. If Uber works out to be the route you’d like to take, you can jump to the app from within Maps.
Transit results are improving, with Maps now showing total walking time along with the next scheduled bus or train. Maps will also show departure times for trains, so you know how long you have to fool around in a city before needing to get back.
There are a lot more little tweaks for Maps, like updated Restaurant listings and starred locations so you don’t miss a place you’d like to visit on vacation. Whether you’re on the go or staying home, Maps wants to get you exploring. Lane guidance, though limited to US and Canada, is easily one of the more useful tweaks here, but the Uber thing is also quite interesting.