A map is a map is a map, right? Except maps change and evolve, based on our knowledge, all the time and Google is looking to make the next big step in their evolution.
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The internet giant’s mapping division says it’s trying to build a future in which Google can “create millions of custom maps…each one just for you.” These maps, it claims, will always be “adapting to the task you want to perform right this minute”.
The first steps toward that future were taken with the launch of a revamped Google Maps at its I/o developer conference. The new Maps is meant to be tailored specifically to your needs. When you set your Home and Work locations, star favorite places, write reviews and share with friends, for instance Google claims Maps will “build even more useful maps with recommendations for places you might enjoy”.
Google also claims it’s made it easier to locate the best places near you by placing search results directly on the map with brief place descriptions and icons that highlight business categories and other useful information — like restaurants that are recommended by your Google+ friends. Info cards meanwhile are meant to provide “helpful information” such as business hours, and ratings and reviews.
The internet giant has also freshened up the imagery on Maps with a new carousel that gathers all Google Maps imagery in one spot. On a WebGL-enabled browser, such as Google Chrome, the carousel is also where you’ll find the Earth view which integrates the 3D experience from Google Earth into the new maps.
Google claims that this is the “biggest change” it’s made to Google Maps since it launched the product eight years ago and adapting the way it has makes sense. After all, it’s got the power of contextual search in the shape of Google Now and probably the most extensive street imagery on the planet. It makes sense that it should combine those things and place them front and centre in Maps. Contextually oriented custom Maps also means that it ultimately has to dedicate less computing power to figuring out what you want because you and your friends will be feeding in most of the information.