Talking tech since 2003

Yesterday, Google rolled out a new update for its Maps app—you know, the one you rely on to get anywhere when you’re not a hundred percent familiar with the route. The newest features added to Maps make the app’s navigation and informational services even better: now you’ll know the best lane to drive in at any given moment, and you’ll know how much time you have before the bars close. And that’s not all: the new Maps features also adds syncing with the Uber app if you feel like letting someone else do the driving.

A post on Google’s blog offers all the details about the new update. First up is lane guidance, a welcome addition for those of us who have to navigate some lousy highway systems. With this new feature, Maps will tell you which lane you should stay in so you don’t miss your exit. And if you encounter lane or exit closures, apparently the newest edition of Maps will help you out with that, too—the blog says that “you’ll also have easy access to alternate routes while you’re navigating, so you can choose the best drive for you.”

The update also adds in filtering options, letting you search for restaurants and stores based on their hours, price, and user ratings. This is a huge help if you’re trying to find that one bar that’s still open, or if you’re simply looking to hit that one store that’s open later on Sunday. The app also adds in Uber syncing, meaning you’ll be able to compare routes to find the best one. Add in being able to save locations to offline mode, and Google Maps is becoming more useful every day.

I’m glad to see these additions—I’d recently had to uninstall all of the updates to Maps because my Nexus 5 was suddenly having trouble working with the app. For whatever reason, whenever I wanted to navigate anywhere, my phone would either tell me that it simply couldn’t connect, or it would start me off in California—even though I live in Minneapolis. But when I saw that the app had been updated today, I decided to see if that particular bug had been squashed. Preliminary tests this morning told me it was, so I’m hoping to put the rest of the new features to work later on today.

[Google Maps Blog]

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