While Google Maps is the world's go-to app for locating places or establishments — or connecting two points and creating routes between them — that doesn't mean it's the best-looking app ever. At best, some of its visual elements are complicated, not to mention some parts of the user interface can look too alien for someone who's using the app for the first time.
Google Maps Gets A Fresh New Look
Google just took some steps to improve on that front. It's giving Maps a visual revamp that adapts to users' travel methods and what they're looking for. For instance, those who are riding public transportation will see highlighted stops and route lines; those on foot, traveling, might see more points of interest; and those driving will see gas stations. Best of all, each location type will have their own color scheme and icon, so it should be easier to distinguish restaurants from cinemas.
"The world is an ever-evolving place. And as it changes, Google Maps changes with it," Google wrote in a blog post. "Now, we're updating Google Maps with a new look that better reflects your world, right now."
Those seem like small changes, but they're crucial ones considering Maps used to show identical blue-colored icons for stores, coffee shops, and doctor's offices. Now food and drink show as orange, shopping stays blue, pink is for health services, seafoam green is for entertainment and leisure, and so on. It would have been nice if Google included a colorblind mode, though.
When Will The Updated Google Maps Roll Out?
Google says that the update will roll out "over the next few weeks," and will affect the Maps app itself plus other apps integrated with Maps features, such as Assistant, Google Earth, and Android Auto. The changes will migrate to sites that implement Maps APIs later on.
Google is on a roll with visual upgrades, it seems, having revamped the web version of Google Calendar just last month and, most recently, rolling out an updated Google Home app. They're minor but ultimately necessary updates, especially in the case of Google Calendar on the web, which looked so atrocious that it seemed Google was playing a prank on users. Thankfully, it looks nicer now and more attuned to the company's Material Design principles.
Of course, changing visual components isn't the same as changing features, but in the case of Maps, adding context-sensitive color schemes and icons will enable users to have a more efficient system of knowing where they are or what important establishments are nearby without getting confused too much.