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Google Maps Gets New Features to Explore

Dave Parrack 07-02-2020

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 Google Maps Now Offers Augmented Reality Directions Google Maps' Live View uses augmented reality (AR) directions to make it easier for you to get from A to B without getting lost. Read More .

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 How Does Google Maps Work? Google Maps is used by millions of people every day and you might be one of them, but how does it actually work and how does Google maintain its accuracy so well? Read More .

Related topics: Google, Google Maps, Location Data, Transportation, Travel.

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  1. Thomas G Loggie
    February 18, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    I don't get the five tabs or this special pin. What am I doing wrong?

    • Dave Parrack
      February 19, 2020 at 12:05 am

      Have you updated Google Maps to the most recent version? It's rolling out gradually, so it may not have reached you yet.

  2. Nik
    February 14, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    When is Google going to magnify street names when I blow up an area of interest so I can actually read the street name?

  3. Greg
    February 14, 2020 at 10:12 am

    I would love to see some of the features of Waze, which Google owns, incorporated into Google Maps. I have in mind speed limits, speed cameras, and red light cameras for example.
    In the case of Waze, I would love to see the maps in English rather than the local language. As I'm currently in Taiwan, Waze maps are in Chinese so I can't read them. The voice giving turn-by-turn directions is in English, so why not the map? Since Waze is owned by Google, and Maps is able to work in English, how about more integration of the two - it would be a SUPER app!!!

  4. janice G
    February 10, 2020 at 12:41 am

    I send the page by sharing on my mobile device, but the page never arrives (no notification) on my desktop. :(