New Google Maps invite

New Google Maps Sneak Peek

It was a nice surprise to find an invite to try out the new Google Maps in my inbox this morning and, after a little play around, I thought I’d show off three of its awesome new features:

1. Home & Work Locations

Setting your home and work location on the new Google Maps

Now you can set your home and work locations, so that when you search for directions they will come up as a drop-down option. Most of the time you will be starting from home, so this will be a bit of a time saver – it has previously been a bit frustrating having to enter your post code each and every time, I’ve found!

2. Cycle-friendly Routing

New Google Maps Turn by Turn for Cyclists

Now find a route suitable for pushbikes (click to see full-sized)
Now find a route suitable for pushbikes (click to see full-sized)

For those who prefer an energetic mode of transport, Maps now gives cyclists plenty of options with detailed turn-by-turn steps and realistic time estimates.

Their spiel on this is that you will now be able to “get directions featuring bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly roads”. It’ll be interesting to see how informed their rulesets for this are, as people are bound to follow it to the letter (even if a motorway is included!).

An aeroplane icon has also suddenly appeared alongside the transport methods, which would be great to be able use it to compare flight options all from within Maps, but seems to be greyed out in this beta – maybe it’s work in progress.

3. Improved Search: Restaurants, for Example

Saved the best until last. This, I think, is VERY cool and such an improvement.

The speed at which it suggests and loads is awesome, and the smooth transition into Streetview is stunning. I can’t wait to see the finished product and I think it’ll be a very useful and powerful update!

What do you think? Have you seen any brilliant features I may have missed? Comment below or Tweet me!