Google Maps is getting several new updates at the company's Google I/O 2018 annual developer conference. With the new features, Maps is expected to become more helpful and personal as the service will now offer more customised suggestions and recommendations for users based on the location. These features include a redesigned Explore tab, a matching food or drink outlet, group planning, and more. Let's have a brief look at all of them. All the features are set to roll out globally on Android and iOS in the coming months.
New AR mode
Google announced a new augmented reality (AR) feature that will make its way to Maps - and it was one of the biggest crowd-pleasers for the thousands of attendees at the keynote. Meant to help users get walking directions, the feature overlays arrows, landmarks, maps, and possibly even an animated creature to show the way in a camera view that is displaying the actual environment around the users. It is essentially a Street View-powered navigation feature, using the camera instead of a 3D rendering. Google Maps' AR mode needs more than just GPS to operate properly, the company said, and uses something called VPS (or visual positional system) to visually identify landmarks around the user using computer vision.
New Explore tab
With a revamped Explore tab, users can view every place of interest nearby their location. The tab will now show activities, restaurants, coffee shops, events, and recommendations from popular lists like Foodie Lists to help you find the best restaurants based on what local guides and experts are saying.
Using the power of machine learning and data that Google Maps has gathered on you, the service will recommend what percentage of a match a selected food or drink venue is to your preferences. This will be based on factors including places you have visited before, preferences you have shared with Maps, information about the business, and previous personal user ratings.
Adding the essence of a social network, Google Maps will soon incorporate a new group planning feature that lets users create shareable shortlists making it easier to coordinate plans with friends and family. You can long press on places and your group mates can vote to keep it in or out. Once finalised, Google Maps already has functionality to let you make a reservation as well as book a cab ride to the venue.
'For you' tab
The new "For you" tab offers a customised view of trending places in areas that you choose to view. Users could select areas or dining spots to follow, from which updates like matching, trending, newly opened, and popular places will be shown in the "for you" tab.
We discussed the most important things that Google did not mention during its I/O 2018 keynote, on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.