Showing posts with label Google Maps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google Maps. Show all posts

Google Maps Updates : Show Zoom Slider in Google Maps

Are you missing the zoom controls from the old Google Maps interface for the desktop? Mouse over the "-" or "+" button at the bottom of the Google Maps page and click "show slider". You'll get the old zoom slider which allows you to quickly control the zoom level of the map.


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If you want to go back to the default interface, mouse over the "-" or "+" button and click "hide slider". The nice thing is that Google remembers your preference.

Google Major Update in Maps Big Offline Google Maps Save

I don't know about you, but my Google Maps for Android has just enabled the new offline features. Even if you have the latest version of the app, you still need to wait until these features are enabled because they're gradually rolled out.

My first disappointment is that the new features are still limited. The biggest size for an offline area you can download is 120,000 square kilometers and there are many countries that are bigger than that. I downloaded London's map and checked the size of the map: 332 MB. It also expires in 29 days (maps need to be updated at least every 30 days).



It looks like Google's maps include too much information, they take up too much space and there's no way to download some simplified maps.

Let's try one of the smallest countries in Europe: Liechtenstein, which has an area of only 160 square kilometers. The offline map has 62 MB. New York? 409 MB. Los Angeles? 356 MB. Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Bangkok? Not available because of licensing issues.


Forget about downloading the map for an entire country. Google Maps still can't replace the Here app or paid navigation apps.

Google Launch Maps Full-Featured with Offline for Android Users

Google Maps has a really cool mobile app for Android and iOS, but most of its features aren't available when you're offline. You can cache maps for small regions and that's pretty useful, but what if you want to cache the maps for an entire country or use navigation and driving directions when you're in a different country? The Here app offers this feature for free and now you can use it in Google Maps too.

"Now you can download an area of the world to your phone, and the next time you find there's no connectivity — whether it's a country road or an underground parking garage — Google Maps will continue to work seamlessly. Whereas before you could simply view an area of the map offline, now you can get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings," mentions Google.


"You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping 'Download' on the resulting place sheet, or by going to 'Offline Areas' in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the + button. Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you're in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route."


The new feature is gradually rolling out in the latest version of Google Maps for Android and it will soon be added to the iOS app. 6 years after launching turn-by-turn navigation, this feature works offline and Google Maps can finally replace paid navigation apps.

Send Places to Mobile Devices in Google Maps

Google Maps now lets you send a place from the desktop site to the mobile app for iOS. You first need to open Google Maps for iOS, go to the Settings, tap Notifications, enable "Sent from desktop Maps" and tap OK to allow Google Maps to send notifications. "Make sure you're signed in to Google Maps with the same account across your computer and mobile devices with the latest version of Maps for mobile installed," informs Google. Then you can search for a place in desktop Google Maps, click "send to device", pick the iOS device and you'll get a notification on your device. If you miss a notification, you can find in the "Recent notifications" section from the Settings.




Some similar features are available for Android from the desktop Google Search site. You can send directions, notes and even set an alarm. Unfortunately, "send to device" is not available in Google Maps for Android yet.

Offline Google Maps Navigation, Directions and More

Google released free turn-by-turn navigation for Google Maps back in 2009. At that time, it was one of the top reasons to buy an Android phone, at least if you lived in the US. Since then, Google added support for a lot more countries and developed an app for iOS which included the navigation feature.

Unfortunately, Google Maps Navigation still requires an Internet connection, like most of the features of the Google Maps mobile apps. Navigation continues to work if you lose your Internet connection, but you can't change your destination or your route. Google Maps lets you cache maps, though they're limited to 50km x 50km and you can't get directions, use navigation or find local businesses. Nokia's HERE apps for Windows Phone, Android and iOS allow you to download full-featured country maps for free and use all of these features offline.

The good news is that Google Maps will soon add support for offline turn-by-turn navigation, directions, local search and it will even let you find more information about businesses. Here are some screenshots from the Google I/O Keynote:





According to Jen Fitzpatrick, Google VP for Engineering & Product Management, the new features will be released later this year.

Classic Google Maps, Replaced by Lite Mode

If you're using the new Google Maps for desktop and you're trying to switch to the old version, Google now sends you to Google Maps Lite Mode. "To make Maps load faster, you can use a version of Google Maps called Lite mode. In Lite mode, some features are turned off so that Maps can run faster." Some examples of missing features: 3D imagery and Earth view, showing your computer's location, setting home and work, searching nearby, measuring distances, coordinates, draggable routes, embedding maps, My Maps integration.

If you're in Lite mode, you'll see a box in the bottom left with a lightning bolt and this message: "You're in Lite mode." You can click: "Switch back to full Maps" if your browser supports it.


The Lite interface uses a hamburger-style menu, just like the mobile apps.


For now, the old Google Maps is still available if you use this link:www.google.com/lochp, but there's a message which says that "this version of Google Maps is updating soon".


Export Custom Maps, Helpouts and More

Google Takeout added support for some new services: Google Moderator, Google Groups, My Maps and Google Helpouts.

Google Helpouts has already been discontinued, while Google Moderator is shutting down on June 30. "Unfortunately, Google Moderator has not had the usage we had hoped, so we've made the difficult decision to close down the product," informed Google.

Google Groups and My Maps are still available, but Takeout lets you export your group members and custom maps.

Export Classic Custom Maps

The old My Maps is no longer available, even if you use the classic Google Maps interface. Your custom maps were upgraded to the new My Maps, which has more advanced features.

You can still download the original KML files for your custom maps until June 1st, just in case they weren't properly converted. To export a map, go to My Maps, click "open a map", pick the map you want to export and click "Download classic My Maps data" in the settings menu. If this feature is not available, then the map was created using the new My Maps. There's also an option to "export to KML", which downloads the current map.


"If you aren't happy with the way that your maps upgraded, you can download the original, pre-upgrade version of your maps as KML files from within the new My Maps. These files will be available only until June 1st, 2015. After June 1st, the pre-upgrade version of the KML files will be removed," informs Google.

Material Design for Google Maps Transit Directions

The desktop Google Maps got a Material Design update: the timetable for transit directions is now displayed in an overlay. Just click More options and times next to Google's transit directions to see the new interface. Here's an example.



"If you're taking public transit, you'll see details about the transit line, trip duration, and schedule. To see other public transit times and enter a specific time, click More options and times. From here, you can see key information: overall travel time for your route, time spent walking (dotted lines), time spent on transit (solid lines), transportation lines used. To see the next scheduled departure, click Leave now. Or choose a different time and date for your directions in the boxes at the top. Click on a trip to select it and see it on the map. Click Route options to narrow your directions down to a particular type of transit. You can also choose Fewer transfers and Less walking," informs Google.



My Maps in Google Drive



Custom maps created in Google My Maps are now saved in Google Drive. You can also create custom maps from Google Drive by clicking the "New" button, then picking "More" and "Google My Maps".


"Over the next week, all the maps you've created will also be accessible in Google Drive, so you can easily organize, manage and share them," informs Google. For now, I've only been able to find new maps, not the maps created before the Drive integration.

Weather in Google Maps

Google Maps used to have a cool weather layer that displayed temperatures and weather conditions around the globe. This feature is no longer available, but Google Maps now shows weather information and local time when searching for cities, just like in Google's Knowledge Graph cards. For example: LondonMountain View.



To switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit degrees, click the icon that illustrates weather condition and click °C or °F in the weather card from Google Search. You can always click the icon to find temperatures, wind and rainfall forecasts for the next 7 days.

Google Maps Smart Search

One of the coolest Google Maps features is the integration with Google's Knowledge Graph. Besides providing useful information about different places, Knowledge Graph makes the search feature smarter.

You can search for [Canada capital], [Tom Cruise birthplace], [Amazon river where does it start], [largest city in India] and many other queries that return a location in Google Search.



It's much easier than using Google Search to find a place and then switching to Google Maps and searching for it.

This also works in the Google Maps mobile apps for Android and iOS:


It works in the classic desktop interface too:


Custom Maps in the New Google Maps

The new version of Google Maps constantly brings back features from the classic Google Maps, which shows that it's almost ready to become the default interface. The new Google Maps shows a link for your custom maps below the search box. If you click the link, you should see a list of custom maps created with Maps Engine Lite or My Maps.


You can access your five most recent My Maps and Maps Engine maps in the new Google Maps. To quickly get to your custom maps:

* Open Google Maps and make sure you're signed-in.
* Click into the searchbox.
* Click the 'My custom maps' suggestion that appears below.
* Click the name of the map you want to view. Your map will either open in My Maps or Maps Engine.

You can also still access all of your My Maps and My Places content (available through classic Maps). To get there from the new Google Maps, click the Gear icon gear menu in the bottom right and select My Places.

Google Maps Easter Egg for Christmas

The Pegman icon from the new Google Maps looks different: it now has a Santa hat. The classic Google Maps still shows the standard icon.



Check this Google+ album to see almost 200 outfits created when Pegman was added to the new Google Maps.

Personalized Embedded Google Maps

Last week, Google announced that you can now embed maps in the new Google Maps interface. Just click the gear icon at the bottom of the page and select "embed map". You can pick from the 3 sizes that are available or click "custom size" to enter your favorite width and height.


The most interesting thing about the new embeds? "This map is built for you. When you view this map on your site, you'll see your saved places on the map. Your site's visitors won't see those saved places – they'll see a map built for them." This only happens if you see your profile icon in the top right corner of the map. You can star locations in an embedded map and they'll be saved to your Google account.


"You can embed a basic map, driving directions, or a local search into your website or blog from the new Google Maps," informs Google.

More Search Results in the New Google Maps

The new Google Maps for desktop updated the local search card and now shows the top 3 results instead of only one. You can still go to the list of top results or check the results from the map, but the card is more convenient. Google is the king of search, so people expect to find a hierarchy. The list of top results is one click away, but many people will never find it.



Pegman in the New Google Maps

Pegman is back in Google Maps. When Google unveiled the new desktop interface for Google Maps, the cute Street View guide was missing.

"To discover a world of imagery at your fingertips, look no further than Pegman – your guide through Street View – who you can find in the lower right corner of the screen. Click on Pegman, and areas with Street View imagery will light up in blue. For a street-level preview, hover over any highlighted road, then click to dive into that location. As you zoom in, you'll also see blue circles indicating where you can find user-uploaded photos, including Photo Spheres – immersive, 360ยบ panoramas taken from land, air, and sea. Click on a yellow circle to see inside restaurants, museums, and more," informs Google.


I don't see Pegman yet, but it will roll out in the next few days or weeks. I'm sure that the yellow icon will be easy to spot once the new feature is enabled by Google.

The new Google Maps added a few other useful features: you can now preview directions by clicking "preview steps" and explore 3D bird's-eye view imagery in Earth Tours. "Wherever you see the Earth Tour icon, you can click, sit back, and get a virtual tour from a soaring angle. Dive into Boston or circle the Alps." There's also the new Google app launcher that replaces the black bar and some new icons for settings and help that are placed at the bottom of the page, next to the "Explore" box.




The features are available in the new Google Maps for desktop and Google says that "more of you will begin to see the new Maps experience," which probably means that the new Maps will start to replace the classic Google Maps. I'm sure that the classic interface will still be available for a while, at least until Google adds the missing features and improves the features that require WebGL.

New UI in Google Maps for Mobile Browsers

The new interface from the Google Maps mobile apps is now also available in the mobile browser. Just go to maps.google.com in your favorite mobile browser for Android and iOS and you should see an interface that closely resembles the UI from the native mobile apps.


"Bold colors and textures are in — and Google Maps is on trend, with a slick new style to make traveling with Maps even easier. Over the next few days, when you open up Google Maps on your Android or iPhone, you'll be greeted by bright colors and a fresh new design. This new look is all about creating surfaces and shadows that echo the real world; with Google Maps' new material feel, layers and buttons come to life so you know just where to touch to get directions, recommendations and imagery,"explained Google a few weeks ago, when the new versions of the mobile apps were launched.



The mobile web app even has a "hamburger" menu that lets you enable layers like traffic, transit, bicycling and satellite. 

Earth View, New Tab Page Powered by Google Maps

"Earth View displays a beautiful and unique Satellite image from Google Maps every time you open a new tab." It's a Chrome extension that replaces the new tab page with a random Google Maps image.


If you want to find more the satellite image, click the globe icon at the bottom of the page and you'll open the current view in Google Maps. To see a new image, open a new tab or refresh the page.

While the Earth View images are fascinating, you'll probably miss some of the features from the standard new tab page: bookmarks bar, frequently visited pages, Google's doodles and navigation links. Earth View only shows a link to Chrome's apps page.


I've checked the extension's source code and there are almost 1000 satellite images. They're not bundled with the extension, they're loaded from JSON files like:https://www.gstatic.com/prettyearth/1003.json.

Remove Images From Google Maps Views

If you've added photos to Google Maps Views and you'd like to remove them, Google offers a few options: removing photos from Google Maps Views and Google Maps or deleting photos from all Google products, including Google+. Photos are stored in Google+, not in Google Maps.


Open the photo page in Google Maps Views, click "Remove from Google Maps and Views" and you'll see this confirmation dialog: "Your image will remain in Google+, but will be removed from Google Maps products. This may take up to 24 hours."


If you click the "delete" button instead, your photo is deleted from Google+ and all the Google services that use it.


"When uploading your photos to Google Maps Views, your content will be publicly visible to other users. Geolocated photos that are shared on Google Maps may also be displayed in a variety of Google products and services, such as Google Maps for mobile, Google Earth, Google Search, Google+, Google+ Local, and third party sites using embeddable widgets or the Google Maps API," informs Google.

There are other ways to remove photos from Google Maps Views: make the Google+ album private or uncheck the "Show location data" setting in the album properties.