Even though I use my phone for various things, like finding places to eat, searching on the web and most of all gaming, the one thing I wouldn’t be able to give up about my smartphone would indeed be the mapping service. It’s really great to have a world guide right inside your pocket. As Google accustomed us each year, a new mapping system will be available this summer with a tons of great features and an overal redesign.

Google’s presentation of the newest Maps service began with a round-up of important data, showing off how popular the service truly is. We’ve learned that the search-engine giant managed to chart 200 countries around the globe and in 50 of these Street View is also available, thanks to a huge fleet of 5 million cars. Integrating more 3D models than ever before, Google’s first bet was, of course, on the mobile application…


Google Maps for Mobile

The first big change we’re going to see is that the upcoming Maps application for Android will look exactly like the one found on iOS. It seems that after porting the package to Apple’s store in December, Google felt really confident about the potential left behind by the Apple Maps fiasco. The rebooted user interface looks more like a native application than a web client and the old system has been swapped with one based on quick-loading vector maps. When the user types queries, predictions will show-up in real-time but once a variant has been settled, relevant information shown in Google Now-style will be revealed.

Moreover, the plain map will now be populated with important locations such as your home, place of work, school and other stuff like that. Roads will no longer be simply yellow, but will rather differ depending on the terrain type. Mountains will be rendered in darker shades of green and blue ocean rifts will vary from light to dark, depending on how the sun shines. Everything is interlinked.

Another major and most-welcomed change is the introduction of a new five point rating scale for restaurants and places, comes with user reviews, price assumptions and also, a nice traffic approximation algorithm which calculates how long it will take for the user to get there. When searching for a restaurant or a famous place, users can switch between different results simply by swiping the bottom part of the screen.

Coming back to features, we must mention that the new five-star rating system will be universally distributed amongst other Google products, such as search. Moreover, expert reviews provided by Zagat will be available in a different section, allowing people to get an approved opinion of a restaurant or place. Also, on top of all things, several Google partners will have the possibility of featuring product offers right inside Map results.

Last but not least, a much-needed differentiation between smartphones and tablets will be added, with the new tablet application allowing exclusive viewing angles and an optimized experience. The famous navigation assistant has now reached 50 billion kilometers of turn by turn directions. To improve that awesome experience Google aims to add live coverage of incidents from all over the world, with real-time alerts and fast re-routing.

Google Maps for Desktop

The new Maps for desktop service will be simpler and more pleasant to use. Results will be labeled directly on the map and the pin system that intrusively gauges the user’s view when searching something will disappear. Moreover, Google + has been integrated into searches so whenever a friend of yours went to a certain place and reviewed it, related information will be shown right on the screen.

Google Maps aims to be a more personal experience, one that blends with the user’s taste and evolves as you check-in and review different places. When the user is logged in, Google will analyze the profile and will change the map to reflect places that are thought important. Moreover, when you wish to travel to a certain spot, directions can be dynamically calculated simply by tapping the destination and your home; two taps, that’s it.

Public transportation has also been upgraded in the new release. Google can now analyze departures every second and compel a new schedule for every user – one that looks pretty nice we might say.

Google Earth

Combining millions of pictures taken all over the world, Google Earth has managed to amaze us tonight. Its new design is easy and fun to use. Featuring a state of the art 3D rendering engine, Earth is now capable of supplying quickly rendered tours of famous places and buildings (even their inside), right on the browser and with no additional downloads. As expected, Maps has been integrated with Google Earth so if you zoom out really hard, real-time clouds can be seen on-top of your location.

Speaking of clouds, another stellar feature of Earth is the outside-earth view. Practically, zooming out is not limited to a country or so and users can actually see how earth looks from outer space. Of course, the wide range of stars and the sun itself are visible in a way we could not gain access before. Don’t stop at reading and preview the new Maps system at maps.google.com/preview.


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Feature Writer

Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.