Google Maps improves navigation signage, links photos to reviews, and adds other new tricks
The version 9.20 update also lets you add a place to your timeline and toggle turn-by-turn directions during phone calls.
Google Maps got a hefty update that adds a lot of new tools to better manage your past, present, and future journeys.
One helpful adjustment is that you can dictate whether or not voice navigation continues while you take a phone call. Go to Settings > Navigation Settings > and then toggle Play voice over Bluetooth.
If you rely on Google Maps reviews, or if you’re a Local Guide, you’ll find that reviews can now include an embedded photo. Previously the pictures were parceled off in a separate space.
Additionally, there’s a new option to add a place to your timeline from your location history. After you select this option, you can type in an address or name of a location.
The implementation is still a little wonky, however, if you want to browse the map to pinpoint the venue. After you tap add a place you can move the pin around the map to select a specific spot. However, if you touch the map screen again the navigation bar at the bottom disappears. To get it back you have to touch the back button, which isn’t immediately obvious. Instead the navigation bar should be minimized, but still be available via swiping up.
An Android Police report also details floating street signs appear when you’re using navigation. However, I wasn’t able to trigger those while trying out several different routes. Perhaps this specific feature is a server-side switch. We’ll keep investigating to see what the deal is with this.
Why this matters: Google Maps is a major piece of the company’s portfolio, so you’re going to see lots of adjustments over time to make it a better experience. Also, Google can use its dominant position with Maps on Android to experiment before deciding which features to port over to iOS, where it’s a more competitive landscape.
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