This year, Google I/O was all about developers. Well it always has been for the most part. But this year there was no new version of Android, no new Android hardware, and well this is a rant for another time. But Google did introduce a new version of Google Maps which you can request an invite to the preview now, and they’ll be fulfilling those requests beginning tomorrow.
The new version looks a lot like the iOS version that was shipped earlier this year. The Maps team has made a complete redesign from the ground-up and has an edge-to-edge content and very little UI chrome, which usually gets in your way, right?
Those at the conference were able to check out Google Maps on the Chromebook Pixel which was able to hand the new vector-based mapping features without an issue. There was a bit of a stutter when people checked out the Google Earth features, which is kinda expected. Since this isn’t quite ready for primetime yet and still just a preview. The Google Earth integration is rather unique and cool, but its still not as powerful as the standalone app.
Noted is that features like Searching, Street View and others performed as well or better than they did before. Which is always good with a redesign. We don’t want to see performance take a hit. It is a bit odd using the new card-based interface which we’ve seen in many other parts of Google products, including Google Now, and Google Play. Maps does pack a ton detailed transit directions, which is awesome especially packing all that into a single screen.
Don’t forget you can request an invite to the preview at the link down below. What do you think about the new version of Google Maps? Is it better than the current or previous version? Let us know in the comments down below.