If you're a member of the Google Maps beta testing group, then you probably noticed something new in the search results in the latest update. Now when you search for something – especially something that has multiple locations like Smashburger, Five Guys, Lifetime Fitness, etc. – you'll see the distance from your location listed on the left-hand side. So you'll now be able to see how far the location you want to go to is from where you are currently at. It's a small, but very useful feature that is currently in the beta version and should make it to the stable version of Google Maps fairly soon.
As some are noting, this feature will appear in either Imperial (miles) or Metric (kilometers) units, depending on where you live. So if you live in America, you'll see that Five Guys is 7 miles away, versus being in Canada or virtually any other country, where it'll say 11 kilometers or so. This is something that is done automatically based on your location. Which means if you've traveled to another country, it will then show the units of measurement that country uses, automatically. A pretty nice touch, to say the least.
Other than this feature, there doesn't appear to be much that's new in this update to Google Maps. Of course, that doesn't mean that there isn't anything else new in this update. As Google always has all sorts of minor features rolling out to their apps and services. Whether it be through an app update, or a server-side update. If you aren't in the Google Maps beta right now, and do want to check out this feature, you can sign up at the link below and be a beta tester. Or you can just wait for Google to push out this feature to the stable version of Google Maps. Which shouldn't be to far down the road.
Google Maps has seen some steady competition appearing over the last few years, primarily from Nokia and Apple. But Google has continued to make their service better and better. Of course, a big part of that now is their purchase of Waze, which they completed in 2013.