Google released a huge update to their Maps function in Feb 2014, replacing the Classic version with an upgraded version. This met with mixed feedback; some users find the new Maps is very slow to load and hard to navigate, but others find the enhanced features outweigh the downsides, including Street View imagery, easier route planning and clearer directions.
Those who use Maps primarily on their desktops will be used now to how the latest version of Maps looks and works, but those who may still be using the Classic version are in for a bit of a shock – Google have announced they will shortly be closing this forever, and automatically upgrading anyone still using Classic Maps to the new version.
With this announcement, Google have also released Google Maps Lite, for browsers that cannot cope with the heavier functionality that the current Maps version brings. Lite Mode has been described by Google as “faster and more streamlined”, and both the current version of Maps and Maps Lite will take across saved user data, places, custom maps and addresses, so no data will be lost!
If you’re a Classic fan, you may find this frustrating! The current version of Maps does include a wide range of both new and enhanced features that may ease the blow, however, including:
For example, typing in “afternoon tea” may bring back a list of cafes, and once you click on one, a list of related results will pop up
Notable landmarks such as Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament are present with real imagery, landscapes such as mountains are shown in 3D, and a new carousel of images at the bottom of the page makes it easier to select different views at the touch of a button
The improved navigation features allow for users to select the most efficient route by car, foot, bike and even train, and each route is highlighted with distance and estimated travel time. Real time traffic reports also allow Google to supply an ETA when using the navigate function, and Street View previews are really handy for tricky junctions and finding addresses easily.
If you’re already using the current version of Maps, you won’t notice the difference unless Google presents Maps to you in Lite version, which it will only do if your browser is not capable of running the full version efficiently. If you’re using Classic, be prepared for an upgrade in your near future, although we’re sure this won’t be the last iteration of Maps to be released – how long until this version is classed as the “Classic”?
For further information, please take a look at Google’s update on the situation.
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