Ahead of the summer travel season, Google is introducing new features to Maps, aimed at improving discovery and navigation. The new "glanceable directions," announced earlier in February, will start rolling out on Android and iOS Maps app this month. Users who opt-in can track their walking, cycling, and driving trips directly from their lock screen or route overview, getting updates on ETAs and notifications about each turn.
Alongside glanceable directions, updates to Recents on the desktop version of Maps are arriving. This shortcut automatically organizes places users have researched into a highlight on the side of the Maps screen. Google will soon allow users to save places in Recent highlights even after closing the Google Maps window. Users will also have the ability to remove places they've viewed, create custom routes between destinations, and share a selection of places with others.
Finally, the AI-powered Immersive View feature on the Maps app is expanding to cover over 500 landmarks, including Prague Castle and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Immersive View merges images to create a multidimensional perspective of the world. Christina Tong, a senior product manager at Google Maps, shed more light on this in a blog post, stating:
"With the time slider [in Immersive View], you can see what the weather will be like at different times of day and how crowded it will be so you can plan ahead. And where we have data available, you can peek inside of restaurants and cafes to help you decide whether you want to make a reservation."