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Google Maps changes logo, tweaks UI to celebrate 15 years

Instead of the regular blue arrow, Android users had the option of selecting a small white car with balloons as a navigation icon.

Navigation has come a long way since the Atlas. Google Maps turns 15 years old this week and the service has become a go-to for most lost users, trying to navigate unfamiliar terrain. A blog post written by Dane Glasgow, VP of Product, Google Maps explains that to celebrate its birthday, Google Maps is getting a redesigned app on mobile and a brand new logo.

A glimpse of Google Maps' celebratory UI
A glimpse of Google Maps' celebratory UI
Google Maps' new features
Google Maps' new features
Google Blog

The newly updated Google Maps app for Android and iOS comes with five easy-to-access tabs: Explore, Commute, Saved, Contribute and Updates.

  • Explore: Looking for a place nearby to grab lunch, enjoy live music or play arcade games? In the Explore tab, there's information, ratings, reviews and more for about 200 million places around the world, including local restaurants, nearby attractions and city landmarks.

  • Commute: Irrespective of if a user commutes via a car or public transit, the Commute tab sets up a user's daily commute to get real-time traffic updates, travel times and suggestions for alternative routes.

  • Saved: The blog post mentions that people have saved more than 6.5 billion places on Google Maps. Now users can view all of these spots in one convenient place, as well as find and organise plans for an upcoming trip and share recommendations based on places you've been.

  • Contribute: Hundreds of millions of people each year contribute information that helps keep Google Maps up to date. With the new Contribute tab enables users to share local knowledge, such as details about roads and addresses, missing places, business reviews and photos. Each contribution goes a long way in helping others learn about new places and decide what to do.

  • Updates: The new Updates tab provides a feed of trending, must-see spots from local experts and publishers. In addition to discovering, saving and sharing recommendations with their network, users can also directly chat with businesses to get questions answered.

In addition to providing more information about daily commutes, Google Maps' also has new features designed to help those undertaking long car journeys such as road trips. To help plan travels, Maps will be adding new insights about a route from past riders, such as:

  • Temperature: For a more comfortable ride, check in advance if the temperature is considered by past riders as on the colder or warmer side.

  • Accessibility: If you have special needs or require additional support, you can identify public transit lines with staffed assistance, accessible entrance and seating, accessible stop-button or hi-visible LED.

  • Women’s Section: In regions where transit systems have designated women's sections or carriages, Maps will help surface this information along with whether other passengers abide by it.

  • Security Onboard: Feel safer knowing if security monitoring is on board—whether that’s with a security guard present, installed security cameras or an available helpline.

  • Number of carriages available: In Japan only, a user can pick a route based on the number of carriages so that it increases your chances of getting a seat.

A demonstration of Google's new features
A demonstration of Google's new features

A short evolution of Google Maps' icon.