Today Google is bringing a new update to its Maps application, which seems to revolve primarily around overhauling the visual side of things. Google Maps is constantly changing in accordance with the world around us, but the latest update aims to make Maps easier to read, and to give more useful information to the end user. These visual changes will apply to all Google Maps clients, including Android, iOS, and desktop.
One of Google’s main goals with the release of the new update is to deliver a cleaner look. Maps is full of information gathered from the real world, but evidently, not all the information can be displayed at once. This is why Google has now removed certain visual elements that are not absolutely required – such as road outlines – in favor of a much cleaner look. Additionally, in order to help users navigate without being distracted (or with fewer distractions), Google has improved the typography of street names, points of interest, transit stations etc. and made all of these objects more easily to distinguish from other elements displayed on the map. Furthermore, the cleaner overall design has allowed Google to display local information “in entirely new ways”. Following the update, users will notice that certain areas will be shaded in dark orange. These zones represent “areas of interest”, specifically places where there’s “a lot of activities and things to do”. Users can zoom into an area of interest to get more details in regards to each venue. Areas of interest are determined by an algorithmic process designed to highlight the areas with the highest density of points of interests like restaurants, bars, and shops. However, Google also revealed that “a human touch” is needed to ensure that Maps is showing the most active areas in high-density locations such as New York City.
Lastly, to give users a better way to differentiate between man-made or natural features, and in order to identify places such as highways, schools or hospitals with more ease, the latest update to Maps introduces “a subtle color scheme”, as detailed in the gallery below. As a result, freeways will be highlighted in bright orange, highways in yellow, and areas of interest in dark orange. Areas with vegetation will be represented by the color green, and evidently, natural bodies of water will be shown in blue.