Google Maps Gets A Facelift; Tests New Wifi Only Version

Google Maps just got a make over. It’s bringing in features to better highlight busy areas of neighbourhoods. On top of that its testing a Wifi only version. Both features will allow users to have a better experience. Google Maps is the go to application for tourists and explorers so a feature that highlights where the party is at could prove useful. Also, Google Maps is a burden on data. So a Wifi only version could help manage your monthly plan better. The features are available today for iOS, Android and the Web.

Wifi Only…Kind Of

Google Maps has a notorious reputation for eating up your data. To load all those beautiful pictures and street views and directions requires a lot of data. Not only that but the app falters while on Wifi. Thankfully Google is testing a new version that’ll have an option for Wifi only. Here’s the thing though, this mode will place the maximum burden on Wifi but it’ll still use a bit of data.

More Colours and A Cleaner Lookss1

Maps has now removed road outlines and improved the typography. It’s now easier to read street names, points of interest and transit stations. The goal is less clutter. A new colour scheme has also been introduced to show more with less. Now when you zoom into an area, parts of it will be highlighted orange. These will be locations with restaurants, hotels, theme parks, bars etc. So if you want to go where the fireworks are, you’ll know. These areas will be determined by algorithms but human editors can also choose them.

There is also a colour scheme that will allow you to identify where certain types of locations are. Hospitals and schools are beige and destinations where activity is high like Time Square and Picadilly Circus are orange. ss3Green is for places with vegetation like Central Park or Shalimar Gardens and blue is of course for places with a lot of water like water parks and aquariums etc.
Here’s that feature in action:

These updates follow after Google Maps added support for multiple destinations last month. You can plan a city tour now and go from destination to destination whether you’re a tourist or just anxious to explore your own city. Google also updated satellite imagery to make it sharper and more detailed last month.

Before (up) and After (down) the update for more detailed satellite imagery
Before (up) and After (down) the update for more detailed satellite imagery

Google Maps has over a billion users worldwide. It recently gave users the ability to edit and add locations and add descriptions of those locations so that the app could be more detailed and more current than ever. According to a survey in 2013 it was determined to be the most used smartphone app in the world. with 54% of smartphone owners having used it at least once. Over time Google has come up with variants like Google Moon (interactive map of the Moon’s surface), Google Mars (provides infrared, visible and elevated views of the red planet’s surface) and Google Sky (uses images of the Hubble Telescope to map space and pan through the visible universe).