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Google Maps "experimenting" with retouched Explore section

Maps beta users are reporting an update to the apps' Explore section, but Google isn't ready to talk about it yet.

Published onSeptember 13, 2016

google maps explore

More than just a tool for plotting routes, Google Maps has long been perfect for spotting new businesses and other points of interest. As such, it appears the Maps team is looking to enhance the app’s “Explore” tab to make the section more inviting and tempt you to stay a while longer.

The changes to the Explore section steps away from the past and present to take on more of a Google Now feel, taking on the card-heavy presentation of the personal assistant platform. The section’s blue accents have been replaced with subtle hues of white, which delivers a brighter presentation.

Beyond giving a feel of deeper integration between Now and Explore, the retouched section might seem easy easier to navigate for some users. Instead of tab hopping from page to page, the Explore section now relies more on vertical scrolling.

The latest changes to Google Maps have apparently only rolled out to select users of the beta version of the app, according to a report from Android Police. Beta users who were blessed with the new Explore interface didn’t report noticing an update, which suggest that the changes were rolled out on the server side.

We asked Google give us the official word on the update, but spokesperson Katie Watson would only say that the team is “always experimenting with new ways to improve Maps, so [Maps users] may just be seeing an experiment we’re running.” So whether or not the rest of us get to play with the retouched Explore section anytime soon will likely depend on how well or poorly beta users take to this “experiment.”

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