Google Maps is getting a bunch of new features this week, so it’s time! The first feature, of course, has not been asked of anyone: the new “community feed”, which is clearly trying to turn Google Maps into a social network. Google’s blog post says that “every day people submit more than 20 million contributions to recommendations for their favorite spots, updates to business services, new reviews and ratings, photos, answers to other people’s questions, updated addresses and much more.” Getting a news feed full of reviews and updates.
Google’s sales pitch reads “Feed shows you the latest reviews, photos and posts added to Google Maps by articles from local experts and people you follow, such as food and beverage merchants and publishers like The Infatuation.” All of these updates are in the style of a social network, with the author at the top, a “follow” link for the author and the ability to “like” the posts. Only they are missing the comments!
To show how serious Google is about this Google Maps social network thing, it is placing community feeds at the front and center of the interface. When you open Google Maps, the Community Feed card pops up at the top of the screen on the right side of the map’s main page. You just swipe it to read the latest updates. If you’re not on the map’s main page, the community lives under the “Explore” tab, the first tab in the Google Maps tab bar. It looks like a great stain for ads.
As well as the people you actively follow, it looks like Google Maps will push updates from “local experts” to everyone, hopefully it won’t be abused. Google needs to assume, especially in the beginning, that everyone has zero followers, so you have to fill the feed with something. Google also said that it will try to find out your Google Maps interests and fill the feed with suggestions for similar places. Today these recommendations exist in the “Updates” tab, which is still in Google’s new images. Seems unnecessary.
Building number and crosswalk
For less controversial additions, how about building numbers and crosswalks? Android Police has added more details to a few specific cities on Google Maps. If you zoom all the way to places like NYC, you’ll see strip crosswalk paint and tiny building numbers on a few streets that tell you exactly where the addresses are. Other recent additions to Google Maps: These are great with traffic lights.
Android Police says it was first spotted on the Android Google Maps Beta, for which you can sign up here. I also see it on Google Maps on the web.
“Go” tab: Google Maps Bookmarks
More tabs Shennigans: The “Journey” tab (second) of Google Maps is being converted to the “Go” tab, which seems to be much more useful. Travel will only list options for your home and work, but the “Go” tab is more than the general bookmarks section. In addition to your home and work, you can pin frequently visit places on the “Go” tab and navigate it with one tap. Looks like it will also show suggestions that are usually based on things like your travel and search history.
Google says that your pinned destinations will display live traffic information and the correct ETA directly from the tab, which seems to be effective. You can also pin public transit routes, which show departure and arrival times, an up-to-date ETA, and any service alert.
Google says that “The Tab will start rolling out to Android and iOS in the coming weeks.” There is no question about whether you will be able to access these bookmarks from the web. Google has said nothing about being on the social network web. Someone reminds Google that Google Maps has a website.
“Attached photo” for street view
Google’s ground-level street view feature has taken another form that is easier to record without special equipment. “Attached Photos” is a new feature that depicts the experience of walking on the street with more or less street views but without the hassle of taking a 360 degree photo. You just fire up the new Street View app, walk down the street (or drive) and some sort of image will be created.
The feature requires an arcore-compatible phone, Google’s 3D-sensing augmented reality framework. What seems to be happening is that Google is recording a video with some 3D location data, and as soon as you hit the road the best frames will be saved and converted into a series of still images for street view. These are not 3 images0 images, so you will not be able to rotate the camera, but you will be able to press the front and rear buttons to navigate the street.
This feature was back in the experiment when it was called “Driving Mode” for Street View. So I guess Google wanted you to put the phones on a car mount and turn on the app and let you collect as much information as you can while driving. The blog post shows a photo from the middle of a five-lane highway, so as if to turn yourself into an amateur, the 120-degree Street View car will still be something Google wants you to do.
Google’s blog post says, “Before this feature, you usually need a special 360-degree camera to capture and publish Street View images.” “This is … not accurate. Android has been able to capture Street View images for years, thanks to the Photospire feature that Android Launched in 2012 at 4.2 Photoshopier’s Google Maps uploads have been supported since 2013. PhotoPhotosphere has a total of 3,360 images, and some stitches, like 15 images, are needed to take them to the phone. Photo is a simple, high-bandwidth way for the public to contribute photos, which again seems to be just an Android feature and requires a newer version of the Street View app, not your Google Maps.
Images listed by Google