Google Maps Adds New Features to Help Travelers

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Google Maps is a vital part of the internet experience for consumers. People use Google Maps to research local businesses, get driving directions, and to discover new things to do in the area. Google regularly adds new features to Google Maps to make the platform more useful to consumers. Last week, Google announced several new features for Google Maps that are designed to make the app more useful for travelers.

When traveling somewhere new, many consumers are looking for local restaurants with exciting items to try. Google Maps has added several features that can help travelers who are searching for a restaurant.

In a post announcing a series of Google Map updates, the company explained, “With Google Maps, you can quickly find restaurants tailored to your tastes with Your Match, see how long the wait is, and even book a reservation without ever leaving the app (and no, we’re not talking about delicious dinner apps). With the popular dishes feature, you can quickly find out what the must-try items on the menu are.”

Augmented reality is a tool that overlays information on top of an image from a screen. Augmented reality can be seen in popular apps like Pokemon Go or in filters on Snapchat. Google is beta testing a feature called Live View that used augmented reality (AR) to show travelers which way to walk.

The Live View uses arrows and directions placed over the camera image from the real world to guide people visiting an unfamiliar location. Google says they’ve tested Live View with the Local Guides and Pixel community over the past few months. Consumers will start seeing Live View on Google Maps apps on Android and iOS devices. AR isn’t something every phone can do. Google says that the beta test will be for devices that support ARCore and ARKit.

Google Maps will even be able to help travelers before they reach their destination. A new option has been added to the Places menu on the Google Map app. It’s now possible to use Google Maps to see all of a user’s flight and hotel reservations in one place. This feature can be beneficial for travelers checking in at the airport or en route to the next hotel on the travel.

To use this new feature, users need to reach the menu by tapping on the three gray lines at the top left corner of the screen. From the “Your Places” menu, there’s now an option for a “Reservations” tab that will show a list of several upcoming trips the user has booked. From this new tab, users can instantly pull up their reservations for any trip they’ve planned. Furthermore, the information can be accessed offline, so there’s no need to worry if there’s no service or the person is traveling internationally without a data plan.

Some of these new features are already active, while others will become available soon. Google says users can expect to see flight and hotel reservations, Live View (in countries where Street View is available), and the new Timeline on phones in the coming weeks. Reservations and Live View are coming to Android and iOS, and the new Timeline is available on Android.

For more recent news about changes and updates to Google, read this article on new options for app ad placement for Google Ad campaigns.


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