Google Maps is getting a big upgrade to make your life easier
At Google I/O in May, the company announced that Google Maps would get its own version of Apple Maps Flyover. Immersive View, as it is known, promises to offer a 3D aerial view of major cities. And Google says it doesn’t start, but it won’t happen all at once.
The first phase of introducing Immersive View to the masses is to offer aerial views of major world landmarks. According to the latest blog post, Google will add “photorealistic aerial views” to nearly 100 landmarks in cities around the world — specifically Barcelona, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.
While the launch of these landmark views means Google Maps is one step closer, Apple’s Maps Flyover feature still has the upper hand for now. Apple Maps lets you navigate full 3D versions of entire cities, while Google Maps only introduces the ability to explore specific landmarks.
But a small step forward is still a step forward, and it’s likely that we’ll see more Immersive View features roll out in the coming months.
Google has promised that this will allow users to explore 3D versions of real cities and, in some select locations, explore indoor spaces in 3D — something Apple doesn’t currently offer.
Google thinks this feature will help you prepare for your next trip. The idea is that you can see the main sights and the immediate surroundings from the comfort and safety of Google Maps. All you have to do is find a landmark and head to the photos section of the menu at the bottom of the screen.
The feature is rolling out globally right now, hitting Android and iOS devices. That is why it will not be available to everyone right away.
I’m using the latest beta version of Google Maps on Android and it’s not available for me either. This means we’ll all have to be patient and wait a few days for the rollout to take hold.
But that’s not all that’s coming to Google Maps now. Information about cycling routes is getting an important update, allowing cyclists to see different route options and a breakdown of the routes themselves. This way you’ll know which route you’ll be taking, including what elevation changes are involved and whether you’ll be taking the main road or a side street. Location sharing is also getting an update that lets you set up notifications. If someone has already shared their location with you, you can tell Google Maps to notify you when they arrive at a destination or leave a specific location. This way you can all keep track of each other without having to constantly watch the live location feed.
Google has made it clear that it considers this to be some of the privacy implications, so the person being tracked must first voluntarily share their location. They’ll also get a few reminders that their location is being shared, and they’ll have the option to block others from receiving notifications if they wish.