Google Maps for iOS Gains More Detail, Toll Estimates, and Standalone Apple Watch Support
Google today updated its dedicated Google Maps app for iOS devices, introducing several new features that will improve the navigation experience on iPhones.
There is a more detailed navigation map that Google says is designed to make it easier for people to drive on unfamiliar roads. Google Maps will show traffic lights and stop signs along the route, and enhanced details like building outlines and areas of interest.
In select cities, Google will provide even more information, such as the shape and width of a road, including medians and islands. The feature is rolling out to iOS and CarPlay users in select countries "in the coming weeks."
On drives that involve toll roads as part of the directions, Google Maps will now provide an estimated toll price before you begin navigating. Google will look at factors like the cost of using a toll pass or other payment methods, along with what day of the week it is, to provide an estimate.
Google will show both toll routes and toll-free routes, and users can still use the "avoid tolls" toggle to always see toll-free routes. Toll prices will be available for 2000 toll roads in the U.S., India, Japan, and Indonesia this month, with support in other countries coming soon.
Google is adding a new Apple Watch experience that will let users get directions on Google Maps directly from the watch. In a few weeks, Google Maps users will be able to tap on the Google Maps shortcut in the Apple Watch app and then start navigation without the need for a connected iPhone. There's also a "Take me home" complication that's coming to make it easy to get quick directions back to a set location.
There are also several other updates that will improve Maps on iOS. Google is adding a new pinned trip widget that will let users see trips that have been pinned in the Go Tab right on the iOS Home screen. The widget will display arrival time, the next departure time for a transit trip, and a suggested route when driving.
The existing Google Maps search widget will be updated to be smaller, and soon, Google plans to add Google Maps integration directly into Spotlight, Siri, and the Shortcuts app. Once set up, users can say "Hey Siri, get directions" or "Hey Siri, search in Google Maps" to use the new functionality. These features will start to be available in the coming months, with enhanced Siri functionality coming later in the summer.