Google has announced a slew of new updates and improvements that are set to make its Maps app a much better experience on the iPhone and Apple Watch.
All of the new improvements were revealed in a blog post by Google Maps Product Manager Rubén Lozano-Aguilera. Topping the list is new support for fare display of approximately 2,000 toll roads in the United States, India, Japan and Indonesia. The announcement says that more countries will receive the same support in due course.
Next is improved navigation maps that will soon show things like traffic lights and stop signs. These improvements will also come to the Google Maps CarPlay interface, making it a much better option for those who are just around the corner.
Driving on unfamiliar roads can be stressful – especially when driving at night or with a car full of people. We’re adding rich new details to your Google Maps navigation experience so you can explore with confidence. You’ll soon see traffic lights and stop signs along your route, along with enhanced details such as building plans and areas of interest. And in select cities, you’ll see more detailed information, such as the shape and width of the road, including averages and islands – you can better understand where you are and help reduce the odds of last-minute lane changes or missing a turn.
On top of that, we have three other features that will make Google Maps a better experience across Apple devices — including support for starting navigation from an Apple Watch for the first time.
Navigating from Apple Watch: If you have an Apple Watch and always find yourself away from home — and away from your phone — you’ll soon be able to get directions on Google Maps right from your watch. Starting in a few weeks, you will no longer need to start navigating from your iPhone. Simply tap the Google Maps shortcut on your Apple Watch app, and navigation will start automatically on your Apple Watch. You can also add Take Me Home to your watch and tap it to start the Google Maps navigation homepage.
Google Maps is also gaining support for Spotlight, Siri, and Shortcuts to let people ask Siri for in-app directions for the first time.
Find and get directions with Siri and Spotlight: Google Maps is directly integrated into Spotlight, Siri, and the Shortcuts app on iOS. Once you’ve set up the shortcuts, just say “Hey Siri, get directions” or “Hey Siri, search Google Maps” to access useful Google Maps information right away. You’ll start seeing this feature in the coming months, with improved Siri search functionality coming later this summer.
Finally, we have new tools that will make it easy to access your installed trips without having to open the Google Maps app first.
Access Google Maps from your home screen with new widgets: Our new pinned trip widget lets you access trips you’ve pinned to your Go Tab right from your iOS home screen – making it easy to get directions. You can see your arrival time, the next departure for your transit, and even the suggested route if you’re driving. And because good things come in small packages, we’re also making our existing Google Maps search tool even smaller so you can search for your favorite places or navigate to frequent destinations with one small tap. Be sure to download the latest version of the Google Maps app to see these tools in the coming weeks.
All of this will bring Google Maps closer to being the best iPhone app for finding your way, whether it’s on public transportation, on foot, or by car. All of these updates will be rolling out over the next few weeks, so keep an eye on the App Store for updates.