Android Lollipop is about to arrive any day now, and with the new iteration of Google's mobile platform just around the corner, Google is rolling out updates to its line of mobile apps. The latest to receive a Material Design makeover and a couple of new features is Google Maps.
In a blog post, Google Maps UX designer Evelyn Kim announced that Google Maps will be coming out with Google's new design language, one that evokes the feeling of real pieces of paper moving on top of one another with the fluid animations and bolder colors, "over the next few days."
"Bold colors and textures are in - and Google Maps is on trend, with a slick new style to make traveling with Maps even easier," says Kim. "This new look is all about creating surfaces and shadows that echo the real world; with Google Maps' new material feel, layers and buttons come to life so you know just where to touch to get directions, recommendations and imagery."
Users can now find out more about a certain location right from the app itself by tapping on the info sheet resting at the bottom of the screen. In full Material Design fashion, the info sheet layer will glide to the top to show users information such as photos and reviews, says Kim. The navigation menu previously found on the bottom left has also been transferred to the upper left of the screen, along with the slide-out menu.
Feature-wise, Google Maps has not added much. The rollout of the new version is more of an update to match Google's new design language, but users can still enjoy new functionalities on Google Maps, specifically better integration with restaurant reservation app OpenTable and ride-sharing services Uber.
OpenTable, a U.S.-exclusive app that lets users see if there are tables available at a certain restaurant and make reservations right from the app, is already a part of Google Maps. Previously, however, Google Maps only showed links to OpenTable's reservation pages. With the updated app, users can view spots available and make reservations without having to leave Google Maps itself.
Also interesting is the tighter integration with Uber, which will now allow users to check for estimated pick-up time and price.
"On a cool winter day, a chilly walk or train ride may not always be the most appealing choice," says Kim. "Travelers deciding whether they should take an Uber or brave the frosty winds can now see estimates for Uber's pickup time and price for their route in walking and transit directions in Google Maps."
The option to get Uber estimates will require installing the Uber app, which shouldn't be much of a hassle since it is free.