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Google Maps update for iOS and Android previewed ahead of Summer launch

Google released a beautiful Maps app for iOS just before Christmas, but the company is ready to take its mobile maps apps to the next level. Google decided to give people a sneak peek at the new Google Maps for Android and iOS at Google I/O today, bringing new features and a new, simpler user interface.

The first order of business was bringing the user interface from the iOS Maps app across to the Android application. Users will now see the simpler search bar at the top of the application, with other options hidden away in the right-hand side swipe menu. Details for restaurants and places have also seen an update, with a simpler UI that brings the design aesthetic in line with what Google has been doing with products like Now and the Play Store.

In addition, Google announced that review ratings would be changing across mobile and the desktop. The company purchased Zagat not too long ago, serving up ratings out of 20 for restaurants and cafes. Instead of scoring places out of 20, Google will now use a simpler five star rating.

The company also announced a new Offers system that will be implemented into Maps. Searching for Starbucks, for example, will pull up local results, but also add special offers into the results card that may interest users. Google says that multiple partners have signed up for the scheme, but it appears to be a US centric service for now.

Navigation functionality has also been revamped in the new version of Google Maps. Google is adding live coverage of any traffic incidents in your area. So let’s say a crash just happened along the route you were going to take: maps will automatically reroute you to avoid it, along with any potential congestion.

Finally, Google has created a brand new Maps app specifically for Android tablets and the iPad that takes advantage of the increased real estate. You’ll be able to see much more information than you would on a smartphone, with restaurants and places serving up multiple cards next to each other rather than the single result you would see on a handset. Google also announced that it will be extended that simpler user interface to the desktop too.

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