Google Maps for iOS refreshed with cleaner look, now highlights local areas of interest

By , Jul 25, 2016

Google Maps for iOS improved typography 002

Google today updated its mobile mapping application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with some rather useful visual tweaks. Google Maps 4.21 for iOS now highlights local areas that might interest you, adding multiple destinations to a route is supported in the new version and the typography of street names, points of interest, transit stations and other places has been improved to make them easier to read on smaller screens, among other changes.

Cleaner look

As mentioned, the latest version of Google Maps for iOS brings out a subtle color scheme to make it easier to differentiate between man-made or natural features as you browse the map, and quickly identify places like hospitals, schools or highways.

Here’s what each color on the map represents.

Google Maps for iOS color scheme

Crisper typography

In addition to tweaked colors, the application includes other visual changes to make it easier to read the names of streets and other places of interest on smartphone screens, such as improved typography and the removal of road outlines and other non-crucial elements (see the before vs. after comparison top of post).

Google Maps for iOS improved typography 001

Areas of interest

As you explore the new Google Maps look, you’ll notice areas shaded in orange. These are your “areas of interest”, which Google defines as places where “there’s a lot of activities and things to do.” The video below shows this in action.

To find an area of interest, just open the refreshed Google Maps app and look around you. When you’ve found an orange-shaded area, zoom in to see more details about each venue, and then tap one for more info.

More legible maps for everyone

Google says it determines areas of interest for your location with an algorithmic process that allows them to highlight the areas with the highest concentration of restaurants, bars and shops.

Plus, in high-density areas like New York City, Google augments the algorithmic process with human curators. All of the above improvements are now available in the mobile Google Maps app for iOS, Android and on the web.

Google Maps for iOS is a free download from the App Store.

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  • Charlie

    Well done Google. Somehow I do feel like iOS app users get more than their own Android users

    • AlphaPoppy

      Isn’t iOS like way easier to develop for than Android OS?

    • Actually Android got a lot of these features a few weeks ago.

    • Rebeka

      We still don’t have multiple destinations despite what the patch note says. It’s bs.

  • ericesque

    Just when Apple Maps was starting to feel more compelling (on iOS 10), Google decides to drop new detailed satellite imagery and then this just a few weeks later.

    Grrr. I just want Siri integration with Google Maps!

    • Agneev Mukherjee

      The Siri SDK was made available (developer-only) at WWDC, so yes, a lot of gaps will be filled.

      • :D

        I wonder if Siri would send the navigation command to GM and then the app would have to launch or if it’s all seamlessly sent over and processed in the background.

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        I’m sure that GM would open to a navigation command like in 3D Touch. 🙂 🙂

  • TornBodies

    Google Maps updates stuff I can actually use everytime i see an apple maps update its a bunch of useless 3d fly overs

    • igorsky

      Don’t assume it’s useless for everybody. Flyover view is amazing.

    • :D

      Flyover comes in really handy sometimes. It’s much easier to use / clearer than Street View / Google’s satellite view
      For everything else related to maps I use Google Maps though

  • therealjjohnson

    Apple maps >

  • malhal

    still is dumb having buttons on the map that can be accidentally be pressed