Google Begins Testing Floating Search Categories In Maps

Google is beginning to test floating search categories in Maps on Android, however it's not clear how widespread the testing is or how many users are seeing these new search category buttons. As you can see in the screenshots below it appears that the test is showing up for at least some users in Germany, and they're showing up after having searched for something, just below the actual search bar. What's more is that the categories are scrollable. Though this is just a test at the moment this would seem to be more convenient for users so it's possible that Google could end up keeping this feature and rolling it out to more people down the road.

The search category bubbles have colored icons and include restaurants, cafes, super markets, hospitals, pharmacies, and gas stations, and there's always a possibility that Google could add more down the line. For example if you open up the Maps app in the U.S. you should see an option for ATMs in the Explore This Area card that sits towards the bottom of the UI, so if Google keeps this floating category design it could an ATM option at some point. Worth noting is that the user who discovered these new floating category bubbles is on the latest version of the Google Maps beta app, so it's not likely to show up in the stable version.

While the categories floating just below the search bar are more or less front and center there are other changes it seems as well with this version of Maps. For instance the directions button that you would tap to start getting directions and navigation is in the search bar and to the right of the voice typing button, and it features a colored icon like those in the floating category buttons below it.

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