This Google Maps Video Shows Android Without an App Drawer and People are Freaking Out (Updated)

UPDATE 2/29: Google reached out to confirm to us our initial thoughts, that this Google Maps video is an inaccurate (read: bad mock-up as we suggested below) version of their UI and that this is not a hint or preview of what’s to come, as has been rumored over the previous couple of weeks.

Yesterday, Google posted a tweet through the Google Maps Twitter account that has Android enthusiasts going a big nuts, all because the video included shows a Nexus 6P without an app drawer. Seriously, lots of people are freaking out because this phone doesn’t have an app drawer. I don’t know that I’m ready to freak out just yet without knowing the full story, but it is worth talking about.

First of all, here is the tweet that’s to blame for this weekend’s fun.  (more…)

Google Maps Gets “Driving” Mode to Give You Suggestions on When to Drive

Google is pushing out a pretty decent new feature to Google Maps this week, called Driving mode. The mode attempts to help you decide if now would be a good time to leave for home or to the gym or to other favorite destinations or to stay put. It provides quick overviews on ETAs, traffic updates, etc.

The new Driving option can be found in the slideout menu in Google Maps or you can create a shortcut to it on your home screen, as it will show up as an option in your home screen widget picker after updating to the newest version of Maps.  (more…)

Google Awakens the Force With Star Wars Themes for Apps, Includes Gmail and Maps

Because there was not already an over saturation of Star Wars crap for you to buy in stores, Google has launched Star Wars themes for your apps, just in case you needed more Force in your life. If you have a Google account, and use it for Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and other Google services, you can experience what the Light or Dark side have to offer their users.

To start, you will need to choose a side – Light or Dark. Once a side is chosen, you will begin to see Star Wars themes throughout many of Google’s applications, whether it is on an Android device or desktop computer. For example, I chose the Dark side, opened my Gmail, and I was greeted with a darkly colored Empire theme. In addition, if you open Google Maps, find your home, you should see a Death Star.  (more…)

Google Maps on Android Gets Offline Navigation Today

Back at Google I/O, Google told us to expect full offline navigation in Google Maps before the year was up. Today, they delivered on the promise, at least on Android. Noting that 60% of the world is without Internet, you are more than likely going to be in a situation during your life where access to Google Maps may come in handy, even though you don’t have any sort of data connection.

With Google Maps offline navigation, you can download a map ahead of time, so that when you need it, you’ll have use of turn-by-turn navigation and the option to search for places, where you can then see information about them, including hours of operation and their rating. It’s basically a Google Maps experience, only without the need to be connected to WiFi or a cell tower.  (more…)

Google Maps and Search Updated With Business Holiday Hours

It’s that time of year again, when every business thinks it is cool to just close up shop early because it’s the holiday season. It can be a total pain to go to your usual spot, just to find they are shut down. Thanks to an addition inside of Google Maps and Google Search, holiday hours for virtually every business you can imagine are now available for viewing.  (more…)

Google Maps Update Brings Gas Prices, Ability to Add Detours During Navigation

An update is rolling out to Google Maps on Google Play, bringing with it the ability to check prices of gas at stations near you, as well as the function of adding detours to your trip during navigation.

Once updated, users inside of the Maps application can search for nearby gas stations, with the price of gas and the station’s name displayed in the results. For example, you will search for gas, and a Shell, Chevron, and BP station will pop up. You can then choose which station to drive to depending on how much you would like to spend.  (more…)

Google Intros Updated Street View App for Google Maps Users

Today, Google introduced an updated Street View application for both Android and iOS. For users on iOS, the new Street View app will replace the Photo Sphere Camera app, but on Android, it will simply be an update for existing Street View users in Google Maps.

With the updated application, users can view Photo Sphere galleries from across the world, and even upload their own panoramic and Photo Sphere shots instantly to Google Maps. If you visit a beautiful place or go on an insane hike, your content can now be viewed by others, giving them a taste of what they can expect at that location.  (more…)

Google Teams Up With FRA to Include Railroad Crossings in Google Maps

According to The New York Times, Google and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will announce a partnership today that will lead to the inclusion of all grade crossings in the United States via Google Maps. The FRA’s hope is that this addition to Maps will bring down the amount of accidents that happen at crossings, which spiked last year by 9%.  (more…)