March 25, 2015

4 New Features in the Latest Google Maps iOS Update

Two smartphones parallel to each other with text above each one stating, respectively, "Discover popular local favorites" and "Fast and accurate maps to take you anywhere."
By Lauren C.

Google and Apple have always been in somewhat of a makeshift war, with battles occurring not only in the marketplace, but in the courtroom as well. In 2012, Apple removed Google Maps from its list of apps, but eventually put it back in. Just a couple of years later, the two Giants still are still going back and forth, which is to be expected considering the natural competition that goes along with the size and goals of their companies.

However, Google just recently upgraded its Google Maps app on iOS devices. Unless Apple decides to magically delete the app again, which is not outside the realm of possibilities, we can assume that they’ve come to (somewhat) of a truce for the sake of user experience.

Here’s some of the new features that come with Google Maps 4.4.0:

1. Adding Voice Search. Part of the update included adding a microphone icon at the top of the app’s search bar-so users can finally verbally ask for directions. Though many other applications have had this feature for a while, Google Maps continued to hold back on the iPhone. However, the iPhone lets you activate Siri already to get voice directions, so unless you are a Google Maps enthusiast, it might not be worth your time. But who knows? After all, Google is trying to compete with Siri.

2. Total Full Screen View. Before this update, the toolbar interfered with users’ view of the map, which could be a pain if you’re trying to find your way on a smaller iPhone screen. Now, you can choose the option to hide the toolbar so you can see a bigger, full screen map instead. Extra viewing area makes for easier navigation, especially on smaller mobile devices!

3. Added Public-Transit Color Lines. Some of you may wonder why someone who doesn’t use a car would need Google Maps. Well, instead of going online or getting a print out of the bus and train routes to catch, you can use your phone to get the best route on hand. This is an especially useful update for those who are living in big, metropolitan areas and enjoy catching the bus or train whenever possible. Thankfully, the routes are now also color coded to differentiate between trains and routes. With this updated feature, that information will now be easier for public transport users to find the routes they need to get to.

4. Top Restaurant Rating Filter. Zagat- rated is an established way of correlating ratings on restaurants. In the recent update, users can now filter restaurant results to ones that are Zagat-rated in certain urban areas across the country. For example, if you type in “restaurants in downtown Los Angeles,” the user will have the option to filter the results according to whether or not they are Zagat-rated. Zagat ratings have been around since the late 1970s, so they have a lot of credibility to them and are well known amongst food enthusiasts.

Apple and Google’s Truce: Good for the Future of Google Maps

Google and Apple will probably continue to coexist without serious altercations, if only for the sake of their own self-interests. Moreover, the consistent iOS updates that come from Google Maps are great considering how prevalent Apple products are amongst consumers-i.e. the iPhone. These updates will only help users become more attached to the Google Maps app, though perhaps less so on Siri. Who knows? Only time can tell.

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