Hands-on with the new Google Maps at I/O (video)

May 16, 2013
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Google-IO-2013 maps Touch Pixel 1600 aa

We go hands-on with the completely reworked web version of the Google Maps, which is due to roll out in the following months.

At the I/O keynote yesterday, Google dedicated a lot of time to Maps, one of the core applications for both mobile and web users of Google products. While the Android app has received a bunch of new features, the most dramatic changes came to the web version of Maps.

The new Maps web application boasts a fully redesigned interface, several new features, and many improvements under the hood that should make the user experience faster and smoother than ever before. The biggest change is probably the way Google Maps tries to create the optimal map for each occasion. As Maps manager Bernhard Seefeld put it, the new Maps “can build a unique map for every place on every click”. For instance, click on a restaurant and the map will instantly change to show you the easiest route from your current position.

Our Nate Swanner and Joshua Vergara got to spend some hands-on time with the new Map web application. Check out the video below for a demo of the new “unique map” direction that Google is pursuing.

We were particularly impressed with the Street View integration. As you can see in the video, the jump from map view to Street View is made at “warp speed”, thanks to the behind the scenes work that the Maps team did. Of course, the fact that the Pixel is a beast of a machine doesn’t hurt either.

What do you make of the new Maps? What are the features that impressed you the most?

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