Google Maps is about to get a few cool features it should have had from the start

  • Google is working on a few new Google Maps features, including cool additions that will make exploring new cities even easier than before.
  • Google Maps beta users have noticed better street geography in some cities, with Google displaying crosswalks and street numbers.
  • Additionally, Google will improve ride service integrations by partnering with select companies to offer more accurate fare estimates.

Easily one of the most valuable tools you can have installed on the phone, a navigation app will help you in a number of circumstances, providing accurate location data, direction support, and quick information about your surroundings. And Google Maps is definitely one of the navigation apps you need to have on your phone.

Google has been upgrading the app with regularity, alternating between big features and smaller updates that are also surprisingly useful. Google has been releasing updates throughout the pandemic, including a major redesign and features specifically built in response to the health crisis. Google is also testing various new features on the beta version of the app, and the newest ones are so impressive that we decided we had to write about them.

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As someone who has often used Google Maps for getting oriented in a new town while walking around, I always found the experience a bit lacking. The immediate information presented on the screen isn’t always enough, and you’ll have to inspect the real world for clues. Am I on the right sidewalk? Shouldn’t I be closer to the street number I’m looking for? Do I need to get into Street View right now? Am I taking the right turn or public transit exit?

Google hinted recently that it would fix some of these problems. Google Maps will now show you which exit to take when using multiple public transit options to get to your destination. In the future, Google Maps will also show a more faithful depiction of street geography, including the position of sidewalks and street numbers.

It looks like that future is closer than ever, though, as Google Maps beta users spotted these changes in the app, sharing screenshots with Android Police:

Google Maps
Google Maps beta shows crosswalk position (left) and building numbers (right). Image source: Android Police

A quick glance will tell you exactly where you are, as you’ll see street numbers right on the map. Crosswalk positions will also be marked clearly, and this should further improve your experience while navigating in a new location. Just pull out the app, allow it to locate your position, and you’ll have all of this extra information available immediately.

These features will be enabled via a server-side update, meaning you won’t have to update the app to get them. However, the rollout will be gradual, and not all cities will get support for building numbers and crosswalks immediately. Still, these are awesome features that I’d have wanted in Maps from the start.

Google will also introduce a new Ride Services menu in the settings of the app, where it will let you enable supported partners. Uber is already showing up in the menu, but others might appear in the future menu. The feature should improve Uber’s fares estimate, but Maps will have to share route information with Uber.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he’s not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.