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Google Maps to Get Significant Makeover Come I/O?

May 8, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

Seeing as we’re all big Android users – we are, right? – then it stands to reason that we’re also big users of their online services in general and depending on how often you travel, Google Maps is perhaps one of the most important tools for you on the web. Maps has slowly gotten more and more powerful over the years and the website feels more like a Desktop app that it does just another website. That gives Google immense flexibility when it comes to updating the UI and of course everything that happens in the background.

Google I/O is really close now and while a lot of us like to think it’s the place where Android takes center stage, it’s important for all of Google’s products. There’s word that Google Maps is to get a big makeover, to debut at this year’s I/O conference. The UI changes are supposedly going to bring out the Maps in Google Maps, by replacing the sidebar we’ve all come to know and love with hovering Google Now like cards. A couple of screenshots that seem to show as much, have surfaced courtesy of the completely unofficial Google Operating System blog. There’s no telling whether or not this are real, so keep that salt shaker handy.

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Content is said to take center stage in the new update as well, with Zagat reviews and more swarming around the map, making it a lot easy for users to see what and where it is they want to go. Maps are apparently changing as well, with the yellow streets disappearing and more. We’re not sure that changing the actual look of the maps is a good idea but, with pressure coming from other players in the mapping market, keeping things fresh seems like a good idea.

We’ve seen the Google Now aesthetic applied to a number of areas outside of the Android search app, it’s heavily featured in the Glass UI and it’s at the heart of the Google Play Store revamp in Version 4.0. Bringing this look and feel to other products is definitely a good idea, especially when you consider that more and more of us rely on the web on the go as well as at our desks.

What do you think about this? Is it about time for Maps to be given a fresh coat of paint?

[Source: Google Operating System]