If you want a navigation app that works, any self-respecting mobile user knows it’s Google Maps you want. With experience going all the way back to 2004, it is one of the most accurate, up t0 date services out there. As of 12 January, the service has become even better, as announced in a blog post by Senior Product Manager Sara McKinley Torti. Tonnes of new features have been added and improved. Most importantly, you can now book rides directly from the app.
Getting a Grab from Google Maps
Since last year, you could sort of book rides from Google Maps. That is, you could see how long it would take when riding in a taxi, and you would see a price estimation. However, if you clicked a service, you were taken out of the app to either Grab or Uber, depending on which service you chose. Furthermore, it was an actual list of services, which looked and felt a little clunky. Now, Google Maps has changed it so when you click on the tab for taxis; you get a view very similar to a rideshare app. Lots of little cars populate the map. Under the map, you have different car sharing app tabs. Click on the tab, and you’ll see how much each option costs. While it does add more clicks to maps, it makes getting the ride you want significantly more straightforward.
But wait, there’s more! Google is trying to make sure you never leave the app by testing out direct Uber integration. If you have an Uber account, you can sign in on google maps. So you can find your destination, choose your car and book it all in maps. No longer will you have to jump between two apps when riding around! Google also talks about doing other stuff like checking the menu at your location (if it’s a restaurant you’re going to), but at this point that is just showing off. Now, there is no mention of any Grab integration, and that is unlikely to happen soon. However, you most probably have both apps on your phone, so at least it’s halfway there.
Other changes and feature
Uber and Google Maps sharing real estate in the same space is quite something, but there have also been more changes. Now, when looking at bus routes, you can see how far away your bus is. This is thanks to Google and LTA reaching an agreement and sharing data. This spells certain doom for other apps currently used to find out this information. You also no longer have any excuse for missing your bus other than just being that kind of person.
Even better for Singaporeans, there are two special map features. Both have been around in maps for a while, but have received updates. Firstly, you can now check how busy a location is on maps before you reach there. Handy for when you want to go out on the weekends or for upcoming CNY, but the thought of huge crowds gives you anxiety. Another addition is indoor maps. Yes, there are now according to Google, more than 110 locations in Singapore with their indoors mapped out, including [email protected], Vivo City and ION Orchard, as well as larger MRT stations like Promenade, Esplanade and Orchard. Whether you’re new to Singapore or lived here your entire life, this is an extraordinary quality of life improvement. So far all of these features seem to work, but let us know how you find these new updates.