SAN FRANCISCO — Google introduced a major overhaul to its Maps app at Google I/O. One of the most dramatic improvements turns a map into a user interface while integrating search and social more deeply to create a seamless navigation experience. The new Google Maps lets you virtually fly into an indoor location on the map, shows places your friends have visited and displays ratings and reviews from people you know.
The more you check in to locations, the more personalized your map gets. Google will adjust your map based on the places you visit most often, building a map completely unique to you. In addition to making social features more prominent, Google Maps also makes it easier to find directions from point A to point B. Clicking on your starting and ending points will automatically pull up instructions, rather than having to manually enter the information. Google Maps will also analyze public transit information by the second to constantly bring updates on buses, trains and more.
The most impressive aesthetic feature is Google’s new 3D Photo Sphere, which takes user-generated photos to create an even more precise image of any given location. It’s basically Street View with user-generated photos. Google Maps will also integrate with Google Earth, which means you can zoom way out into space to see the stars if you choose.
These new features will be available today, and are in line with rumors that surfaced this morning ahead of I/O. Google’s sign-in page for this revamped Maps app leaked online late last night, briefly describing each feature mentioned above.
Google Maps is also compatible with Leap Motion and Oculus Rift, which allows you to navigate through the application with gestures and motions instead of a mouse or touch screen.