Google Maps is now getting more refined with better tech enhancements. The next release will see a different look and of course better features including real-time events and accidents. There are also personalized recommendations and preferences supported. This was all previewed on the Google IO conference in San Francisco. The new Maps is currently in beta but we could all sign up for an invitation at google.com/maps/preview.
Some of the things that was improved really got me thinking: Google invests lots of efforts and research time to develop human centered functions and designs that improves the daily lives of people. That has remain consistent and is definitely one of the key factors for the tech giant’s success today. Here I would like to talk about some of the functions that were enhanced which I personally think is cool and important.
The main navigational tool is the cursor and the primary action for users would be clicking. With every click subtly altering the map to display more relevant information, emphasizing things that are more specific to the person’s search behaviors. Example, you could click on a retail shop and information pertaining to the shop and it’s business would be readily available. This reduces the time spent to search for information about the shop seperately. With a great search engine as back end support, all relevant content is within reach. Excellent support and feature.
Based on your behaviors and past search criteria, Google is able recommend you places and things that might potentially be of interest to you. That includes popping up vouchers for your favorite coffee at Starbucks or telling you that you might want to check out the Lego store thats available 30m from where you are standing. Neat.
There were also improvements made to the navigational tool. It now comes with the functionality of giving you the fastest and nearest route to your destination. It might even calculate a shorter path taking into consideration the potential real time obstacles. It also has a new schedule viewer that will give you an array of travel options if you are having some difficulty deciding your mode of transport: to ride a bike or drive a car? Now, it also displays car accidents on the road in real time. There would be live updates of road traffic conditions and possible rerouting functions to avoid these hectic traffic routes.
In terms of aesthetics, Google maps is now looking a lot better and more graphically appealing. Adopting the general design idea of lesser text, bigger pictures, the new look would definitely be more eye pleasing.
Google Maps in general is an absolutely important service that many people and business would need. There are so many offerings out there which could leverage on Maps for its functionality. More improvements are yet to come. I am very happy to say Google Maps is my preferred tool for all mapping occasions.