Google Maps update: Good lanes and last trains

May 7, 2014 by Nancy Owano

According to Google, its Google Maps is the largest mapping site in the world. As of Tuesday, the mega-finder can be used as a souped-up personal assistant that anyone with a mobile device can appreciate whether on the highway or on the city sidewalks. Google Maps has been given a generous update with enhancements to help people reach where they are going safely and easily and to help people know more about places where they might want to go too.

The blog announcement said you can save maps to use offline. "Don't worry if you're not online. Before setting off on your next vacation, hike, or roadtrip, search for an area and tap on its place info sheet, then when available, you can select 'Save to use offline,' and give your map a custom name, like 'Toronto Vacation.' To find your offline maps, sign-in, tap the profile icon next to the search box in the top right corner, and scroll to see 'Toronto Vacation' and other saved maps."

New filters, said the announcement, allow the user to browse through restaurants, bars and hotels by opening hours, ratings, prices, and more, where available, to find what you're looking for, right when you need it. "Starting today," announced Jeffrey Hightower, Software Engineering Manager, "you now have even more ways to avoid life's everyday hiccups with Google Maps for Android and iPhone/iPad."

Lane guidance is among the most noteworthy items about the new looks in Google Maps. Knowing which lane to stay in or move over to makes it all the easier to avoid missing the next exit. The blog also suggests a further link providing details about navigation support.

Integration with Uber is a feature gaining attention in Tuesday's press reports on Google Maps. Uber, the "one-tap-to-ride" company where you can be connected to a driver, has launched in numerous cities. According to an April Uber blog posting, "In 2010, Uber started as simply a big idea for a better way to get around. Today, with the launch of Beijing, Uber is in 100 cities around the world. And we're just getting started."

As Hightower wrote Tuesday, "Frequent Uber rider? If you have the Uber app installed, you can now compare your ride with transit and walking directions right from Google Maps in some cities. And if you choose the Uber option, you'll jump right into the Uber app with just one click."

Google Maps also has you covered with train times. By clicking the train icon, users can select a "Depart at" option to choose the time and day for the train they want to take or "last train home."

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