Google Maps is 15 years old, with Google having launched Maps all the way back in 2005. To celebrate the milestone, Google has updated Maps, with a new icon, a simplified user interface, and news of some new features coming over the next few months.
A Brief History of Google Maps
In February 2005, Google launched Google Maps. At the time, Google Maps was a web application, but was quickly transformed into an app for mobile devices as well. Which, given its usefulness as a tool for navigation, is where it came into its own.
Google Maps has evolved massively over the years, and Google has celebrated 15 years of Google Maps in a series of posts on The Keyword. This includes Sundar Pichai reflecting on the history of Google Maps, and Jen Fitzpatrick looking at the future of Google Maps.
There’s also a post detailing Google Maps’ new look and features.
New Google Maps Features to Explore
The first thing you’ll notice is the new icon. The section of a map with a pin sticking in it is gone, replaced by a simple pin-shaped icon decorated with the red, blue, yellow and green common to all Google apps. Making it much more recognizable as a Google app.
Once you open the app you’ll now see five tabs running across the bottom of the app. These are designed to keep everything you need at your fingertips. Saving you from having to dig through menus and submenus to find what you want.
The five tabs are Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute, and Updates. Explore helps you explore areas, Commute lets you set up your commute, Saved collates all of your saved places, Contribute lets you share local knowledge, and Updates features trending spots.
Google is also teasing further updates due in the next few months. The first is a new set of features to help you plan your journeys on public transit. The second is an expansion to Live View, which offers augmented reality walking directions .
Here’s to Another 15 Years of Google Maps
Google Maps has been an absolute revelation. From helping us all navigate the world, whether by foot, automobile, or public transit, to showing us where to visit, eat, drink, and park, Google Maps is an essential tool for everyone. So, here’s to the next 15 years.
And if you’re interested in the tech powering the app, here’s how Google Maps works .