Google Maps is undoubtedly the go-to app for most of the map-using community, especially those on mobile and on Android smartphones. However, there are some activities that are a bit tiresome to do on mobile. Take, for instance, planning a road trip. You’ll need to pull up info of not only the routes to take but also which spots to visit, which areas to avoid, and where to eat and rest. With this in mind, it seems like the latest version of Google Maps for desktop is covering all of its bases.
The first thing that’s different with the new Google Maps is the interface itself. Instead of a search bar on a side panel, the map itself is the new interface and it is fully interactive. It’s something tried and tested on mobile and it works. It provides the information you need on the map itself with the information pulled again from Google’s Knowledge Graph.
The integration of +1’s and recommendations all pulled from Knowledge Graph brings your map to life. Restaurants you’ve eaten at, starred, or recommended dot the map and even if you search somewhere else, similar places will pop up based on the criteria that you didn’t even know you’ve already given Google.
The power of Knowledge Graph ensures that Google Maps grows as you continue to use it. As it knows your preferences and habits better, it can provide you with fresh places to check out and the best ways to get there.
The integration of other Google services doesn’t stop there. Google Earth provides richly detailed renderings of the places you’re looking for. It’s useful for looking for a landmark so you don’t get lost in either a concrete jungle or a remote backwater town. Photos from Picasa and Google+ make up Street View, which are static images of a particular road, and Photo Tours, which are 3D renderings of photos submitted by users of famous landmarks and places.
Of course, the main functionality of Google Maps is still there, and it’s better than ever. You can now compare different modes of transportation through it. Check out how long it will take via plane then compare it with travel time via a car road trip.
All of these features truly make for an exciting time with Google Maps. It’s not just a means to find out where you’re going, it’s become a veritable mine of information about places to go and visit.