It looks like Google Maps will be getting a facelift at Google I/O next week. According to the Google Operating System blog (not to be confused with the official Google blog), among other new features, the left side bar (see above) will be giving way to the full screen map.
The Google Operating System blog posted some screenshots that show off the apparent new interface for Google Maps (pictured below). As you can see, gone is the oh-so-functional, vertical-scrolling sidebar that just doesn’t work well in smaller screens or touch interfaces. The same useful information that used to be on the single sidebar – like your address, relevant reviews, and even play-by-play directions – now appear on a bunch of cards that looks a lot like Google Now. The card-based design breaks up information into smaller chunks that could fit better on devices with smaller screens. Hopefully, you’ll be able to move those cards around to see more of the map, but we’ll have to wait until Google I/O to find out.
We often depend on Google Maps to zoom in on an area and do a search on local restaurants and businesses to help us figure out the best places are to eat and shop. But why trust Google to bring you the best recommendations when you can ask your trusted Google+ network for help? In addition to showing off a more minimalistic design to Google Maps, the Mountain View-based company will also be introducing a new feature that lets you “restrict local search results to places recommended by top reviews or your Google+ circles,” according to the unofficial Google Operating System site. Your friends’ opinions are bound to be more relevant to you than the random and out-of-date ones that Google grabs from the Internet.
Google I/O will be taking place between May 15 and 17 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, so we’ll find out soon whether Google Maps will really be getting some love after all. What changes would you like to see in Google Maps?