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The company overhauled its app in a way that focuses more intuitively on categories of what you want to do, like Eat, Drink, Shop, Play and Sleep. It has a smart way of encouraging discoveries within these categories that made even me — someone who avoided the discovery features in Google Maps — want to use them. And, yes, it still plots your journey, but now it looks ahead for traffic so it can reroute you mid-trip.
As I tested an early version of the Google Maps app on Android and Apple’s iOS operating system, its striking visual images drew me in. I found there are some real brains behind this beauty, in particular, its Explore feature, which helps you discover spots near to your destination you may not have known about. In fact, it’s designed more for use when you have a few minutes to dig into reviews. I can see myself using this app even when I’m not just getting directions.
This Maps app could be real competition for Yelp and other sites like it, especially given its built-in discovery and reviews, which would save people the step of going out to use another website or app.
The new version of Google Maps already started slowly rolling out as an update on the company’s own Android operating system, and it will be available in Apple’s App Store starting Wednesday morning. Unlike previous iterations of Google Maps, which worked differently on Android and iOS, this new version will offer nearly all of the same features on both operating systems, and it will work on smartphones and in a version that is optimized for tablets.
One feature that won’t work on iOS is the rerouting of a trip as you go. Though iOS users will be able to see traffic incidents on their upcoming route, they won’t be able to tap a button for an alternate route to avoid traffic. A spokesman for Google said this will be coming to iOS soon.
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Source: Associated Press