Today at Google I/O 2013 the company showed off some significant changes that they have made to Google Maps. The popular maps service has been built from the ground up for desktop users and it features a new user interface. Browser user interface elements are no longer in the way, the map spreads from one edge of the screen to the other. In the upper left hand corner there’s a search box for entering queries, which offers suggestions on its own.
A lot of intelligent features have been baked in to Google Maps. It is now capable of recognizing which locations are searched of the most and places one might be interested in. The new Google Maps is quite far from its predecessors in terms of technology and design. The UI now seems to be a part of Google’s overall design philosophy. Google says that the more a user interacts with the map of their phone, the better it will get in highlighting stuff relevant to that user.
Maps now uses Google Now style cards that contain information. Tapping on a location will bring up the relevant card, which contains information such as public transit and driving times. For navigation, tapping one route will highlight it while all others will slightly fade in to the background. Google also announced 3D view of the maps which don’t require any special plugins any more. The preview is available from today, Google says that they want to get this new and improved service out the door quickly.