Jul 10 AT 8:26 AM Nick Sarafolean 16 Comments

Google Maps gets fresh redesign, new features


We’re going on two months now since Google I/O where Google took the wraps off their new version of Google Maps. Since then, the web version has been in beta testing, and the mobile application has been in development. Now, the mobile app has finally come to fruition with a new update that overhauls the existing Maps app.

The most obvious change with the update is the new UI for the app. Google has finally brought it up to snuff by fully implementing the Holo design throughout all areas of the app. You have a new cards-esque UI for different areas of the app including the search bar, which brings up handy suggestions. As a whole, it strongly reminds us of the ever-gorgeous Google Now app with the Holo UI flowing seamlessly through it.


Alongside the Holofied redesign, the update also packs in some new features. The first of these is Explore, which is a replacement for the existing Local feature. Explore allows you to find places nearby, like restaurants, cafes, bars, attractions, events and more. Tapping on a local place will allow you to see reviews, photos, contact information and other information, including a “Featured by Zagat” collection. It looks to be a bit more fleshed out than Local, which is good to see; Local could be a bit bare bones at times. Like the rest of the app, this features a Holo design with the cards UI.

The final big change comes to Navigation, which was in desperate need of an update. An updated UI was included but the major changes are in functionality. The new navigation system features live traffic updates, incident reporting and new dynamic rerouting for things such as construction zones or accidents. This is going to be a huge boon, and we’re guessing that Google’s acquisition of Waze helped to bring some of these new features to life.

That’s about it for the update. Although there are probably other miscellaneous changes throughout the app, Google didn’t feel them noteworthy enough to list them in the change log. If you don’t have the update yet, don’t worry. It will be rolling out to Android 4.0.3+ users in the next few weeks.

What do you guys think of the changes?


A nerd at heart, Nick is an average person who has a passion for all things electronic. When not spending his time writing about the latest gadgets, Nick enjoys reading, dabbling in photography, and experimenting with anything and everything coffee. Should you wish to know more about him, you can follow him on Twitter @nsarafolean.

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  • random guy

    If the update is the same as the one they showed in google io then its going to be awesome p.s didn’t get the update by the warly but expecting greting things

  • MarkT

    Hope we see the return of offline maps soon – otherwise, very slick and full of promise.

  • aholland1

    It’s definitely pretty, but as other blogs have mentioned, there are a some features ‘missing’ or retired / folded into other apps (looking at you latitude). Offline maps has been obscured into typing ‘OK Maps’ into the search bar to cache which I never used, but am sure many did. I’m also pissed about the loss of bubble buttons for zoom and one-touch navigation along with the scale bar which you had to turn on in the settings. If they’re going to dynamically keep me on the best route anyway, why not give me the option to just go there with one tap, ugh.

    I’m also not seeing the Explore option when I go to search despite living in a metropolitan area (D.C.) but not sure if I have to go out somewhere first for that to kick in. Really hoping it does since it looks like they totally killed the separate Local app that installed with Maps in favor of this new feature.

    Hopefully they will find a way to appease users who used certain features while keeping the new, fluid interface which is certainly nice.

  • Dan Jones

    I’m going to miss Latitude, but I understand that I’m in the minority, so, oh well.

    The Labs missing sucks too. Especially the scale bar.

    • KPeter0314

      Oh, that will not do! I love my scale bar from the Labs. Hopefully they will integrate that eventually.

    • NasLAU

      I use Latitude a lot but thankfully this feature is basically rolled into Google+ so I’ll be OK. Too bad for those who don’t use G+ though.

  • SGB101

    It looks very nice, but less functional, but that may just be down to lack of familiarity.

    The swipe up menu looks awfully close to iso7, quick setting draw!

  • Ardrid

    Very excited about this update. Looks truly beautiful. I only wish I could force it to my Nexus 4.

  • dbareis

    Ok its possible I’m missing some controls as the menu box is half off the left bottom of my screen but I can’t see any way to get to the “Explore” screen shown above, labs being removed is annoying as I used most of them particularly liked bold text, i USED to be able to read the labels without my glasses. The online help is either unhelpful or for the old version of maps and two finger swipes don’t do anything useful.

  • Mike C.

    The crippled offline maps is my biggest grief. Probably going to stick with previous version until it will not work. Like the UI, but why take away something as useful as the scale in labs? A map without a scale? Doesn’t make sense.

    Please Google – don’t expect that everyone lives in your always online world. We will get there, eventually, but don’t push us.

  • MarkT

    Hey – Offline maps now available by typing ‘OK maps’ into search box or via a new method just added: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GoogleMaps/posts/4Cm8CfXz2qS

  • donger

    Love this app.