Google Maps for iOS updated with searching along route and Nearby Traffic widget

By , Nov 30, 2016

Google Maps for iOS search along route iPhone screenshot 001

Google today pushed an update to its native Maps app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, adding a pair of new features whilst bumping version number to 4.25.0. Like with Apple Maps, Google’s app now supports searching for points of interest along your route while in navigation mode. In addition, you can also see traffic information on your Home/Lock screen and in the Notification Center with a handy new Nearby Traffic widget.

Searching along your route

You can now search along your route in Google Maps.

This feature is available when you’re using turn-by-turn directions. Simply hit a new magnifying glass icon in the top right corner to bring up an overlay with one-tap shortcuts to places like gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores and coffee shops, or tap the blue search icon in the list to search for any place along the route.

I find Google’s implementation lacking, however.

That’s due to the use of a semi-translucent overlay which makes the map in the background ineligible. When I’m driving, the last thing I need is for some UI overlay to obstruct the map and my next turn. In Apple Maps, this feature is accessed by pulling up a banner from the bottom of the screen which takes up less than a third of screen real estate and can be made taller or shorter.

Nearby Traffic widget

The new Nearby Widget widget joins Google Maps’ tremendously useful Travel Times and Nearby Transit widgets that I use on a daily basis. As its name suggests, Nearby Traffic displays current traffic conditions along with any incidents, delays and more.

You may see a message saying “Light traffic in your area”, “Faster than usual”, “Typical conditions” and so forth. The widget includes a mini-map of traffic conditions for your current geographical location that you can expand by tapping Show More in the widget’s top-right corner, as shown top of post.

Travel Times and Nearby Transit

Let’s not forget about a pair of existing Google Maps widgets: Travel Times and Nearby Transit. Like the Maps Destinations widget for Apple Maps, Travel Times displays dynamically updated estimates of travel times to your Home and Work locations, as determined by traffic congestions, weather and other conditions.

You can edit your Home and Work locations inside the app or at maps.google.com.

The Nearby Transit widget is even better.

Google Maps for iOS Travel Times and Nearby Transit widgets iPhone screenshot 001
Travel Times and Nearby Transit widgets in Google Maps for iOS.

Again, this one’s also similar to the Maps Transit widget in Apple Maps (do you see a pattern here?). Nearby Transit presents you with continually updated schedules for up to ten bus stops, train stations, trams and other means of public transportation in your current area. You can even expand any item in the list to show the full schedule, as seen on the screenshot above.

Go ahead and update your copy of Google Maps for iOS, then check out the new widget and let us know if you liked or disliked it, and why, down in the comment section.

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  • Jose Gonzalez

    Hmm that’s weird. These are barely new features? I see the update is available for me but I’m on version 4.24.93182 and I’ve had those features for quite a while, at least a couple months. And I swear I remember reading this article before. I don’t know has anyone else had these features already before this 4.25.0 update?

  • Informative!! I hope that Apple allows us to choose the main mapping App system wide, instead of forcing us to use Apple Maps, so that it integrates with Siri and other apps. The travel times widget is still present on my phone, and it is actually updated. If there is something unusual along the route it is reflected there, with an small icon. It previously only changed the color of the ETA text depending on traffic conditions.

    • Rowan09

      How would that benefit Apple? The more people use maps the better it gets, it’s like asking Google to give Android without any of its services and restrictions.

  • David Terminal Illness Loro

    STILL NO CARPLAY.