5 new Google Maps navigation features: new watchOS app, enhanced maps & more

Navigating with Google Maps on your iPhone and Apple Watch will soon get easier thanks to a more detailed map, a dedicated watchOS app and other new features.

Satellite view of a metropolitan area from Google Maps
  • Google Maps navigation is getting easier on Apple Watch with a standalone app
  • A more detailed navigation map with streetlight data, estimated toll pricing, etc.
  • Other perks include a pinned trip widget, with Siri integration due in the future.

5 new navigation features coming to Google Maps

These improvements will be available when navigating with Google Maps:

  • Starting navigation from the wrist via a standalone watchOS app
  • The ability to see estimated pricing for toll roads when navigating
  • An enhanced navigation map with streetlight data and other details
  • A new Maps widget for pinned trips and a much smaller search widget
  • Searching and getting directions with Siri, Spotlight or the Shortcuts app

These new Maps features were announced in a post on Google’s The Keyword blog.

1. A standalone Apple Watch app

As mentioned, Google is giving the Apple Watch some love with a standalone watchOS app coming soon to let you start a navigation session right from the wrist. Currently, you can’t do that—a navigation session must start on your iPhone. To start navigating even faster, the new watchOS app will provide a new “Take me home” complication. Add it to your watch face so you can quickly start the navigation home on Google Maps. Read: How to use Google Maps on Apple Watch

2. Estimated toll pricing

When navigating on routes that require taking toll roads, Google Maps will display toll prices for the first time. This will help you decide whether you should stay on a route with toll roads or take a toll-free route (if one is available, Maps will show you). To avoid toll roads during navigation, hit the three-dotted menu at the top-right corner of your directions, then choose “Avoid tolls.” Google estimates toll prices based on trusted information from local tolling authorities and factors such as the time of week, payment methods and so on. Read: How to customize Apple Maps

3. A more detailed navigation map

A more detailed navigation map with more granular details is available in some cities. You’ll enjoy enhanced streetlight data along your route, building outlines and enhanced details for areas of interest. “And in select cities, you’ll see even more detailed information,” Google explains, such as the shape and width of a road, including medians and islands. Read: How to search along your route on Apple Maps

4. New home screen widgets

Google is bringing a new pinned trip widget along with an updated Google Maps search widget featuring a smaller user interface. With a quick touch of the new pinned trip widget, you can instantly access any trips pinned in the Go tab to quickly start navigation, see the arrival time, the next departure for your transit trip and more. Read: How to adjust app icon size on your iPhone’s home screen

5. Siri integration and other perks coming in the future

Google has also laid out some of the improvements that will be coming to the Maps app in the future, including asking Siri for directions (“Hey Siri, get directions,” “Hey Siri, search in Google Maps, ”etc.). The app will also be integrated with Shortcuts, letting you use Google Maps features in your own iOS automation workflows. Lastly, Google Maps is integrating directly into Apple’s Spotlight feature.

When will Google launch the new navigation features?

Toll pricing estimates will arrive in April for approximately 2000 toll roads in the US, India, Japan and Indonesia, with additional countries coming soon. The enhanced map is launching in select countries across iOS, CarPlay, Android and Android Auto in the coming weeks. As for a standalone Apple Watch app, expect it to launch in about a few weeks. The new pinned trip widget, along with the smaller Maps search widget, is scheduled to launch in the coming weeks. Basic integrations with Spotlight, Siri and the Shortcuts app will start appearing in the coming months, with enhanced Siri search functionality coming later in the summer.

Obviously, this is a staggered rollout. Therefore, check back in a few days or weeks if you don’t see the new features in the updated updated Google Maps app on the device. Read: How to blur out your house, car or face in Apple Maps or Google Maps