At 15, Google Maps has indeed reached another milestone!
First on the list, Google rolls out a spanking new icon for the service and a couple of cool new features to go along with it. Out the classic map intersection icon and in with the Google-hued pin.
As part of the refreshed app, Google is bringing out once hidden features front and centre “for easier navigation” as said by Dane Glasgow, Vice President of Product, Google Maps.
The latest tabs now are: “Explore,” “Commute,” “Saved,” “Contribute,” and “Updates”, highlighting tasks people utilise Google Maps for besides its primary use—getting directions.
Google also announced more additions to be made in the coming months including to its Live View feature, an augmented reality view offering users a turn-by-turn directions over live situation.
Currently on Beta mode, Google shares that it will soon include additional information about public transit attributes, leveraging on machine learning, which includes alternative routes, temperature, accessibility and security information among others.
“We are hoping the newly updates would help more people manage travel with its prediction ability and get us to know and understand more about the world,” added Jen Fitzpatrick, Senior Vice President at Google Maps.
Let’s take a look back at Google Maps’ 15 years of mapping the world.
1. On February 8, 2005, Google Maps was first launched for desktop as a new solution to help people “get from point A to point B.” Today, Google Maps is used by more than 1 billion people all over the world every month.
2. Just months later, Google Earth landed, bringing 3D views of the planet to desktops. Since then, Google Earth features more than 36 million square miles of high-definition satellite images for digital explorers to journey through.
3. It’s difficult to imagine a time when sites all over the web didn’t embed Google Maps into their pages--but it wasn’t until mid-2005 that the Google Maps API was announced, giving developers access. Today, more than 5 million websites and apps use the Google Maps Platform every week.
4. In December 2005, Portland, Oregon became the first city to use Trip Planner, helping commuters see things like public transit schedules and routes within Google Maps.
5. Nobody likes traffic--but traffic updates are another story. About two years after launching Google Maps, real-time info on traffic conditions was made available and so the phrases “there’s a lot of red...” and “it’s all blue!” were born.
6. May 29, 2007 marked the debut of Street View, which has become a much-beloved part of Google Maps. To collect imagery for Street View, Google strapped cameras to everything from snowmobiles to camels, and in total, captured more than 10 million miles.
7. In November 2007, Google Maps made the leap from desktop to mobile phones and was first available for Blackberry and Palm devices. In 2008, our first Android app launched, followed by the iOS app in 2012.
8. In 2009, a welcome update to Maps brought turn-by-turn navigation to the app. No more long lists of driving directions!
9. Street View Trekker took us to new heights--literally. In 2012, Google introduced the Street View Trekker, bringing all the high-tech equipment needed to capture imagery into a backpack. We first took the Trekker out to explore the Grand Canyon, and since then, it’s captured imagery from hard to reach places like the Amazon rainforest and the top of the Eiffel tower!
10. Google Maps isn’t only about exploring the globe. In 2014, Google added the ability to find information like hours, ratings and prices about restaurants, bars and hotels. Today, you can see these sorts of details for about 200 million businesses and places worldwide--right from your Explore tab.
11. Google My Business was launched in June 2014 as a one-stop-shop for business owners to manage their presence on Google Maps and Search by updating their business info, adding photos, responding to reviews, and more.
12. No connection? No problem. In November 2015, Google launched offline maps, so that even when you don’t have connectivity, you can still get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations and find useful information about places.
13. In the same month, Google introduced the Local Guides programme, a passionate community of users (now 120 million Local Guides strong!) who share reviews, photos and knowledge about places around the world.
14. In March 2018, Google brought wheelchair-accessible routes to Google Maps to make transit and navigation easier for those with mobility needs. Today, Google Maps includes accessibility info like wheelchair-friendly entrances and restrooms for more than 50 million places around the world.
15. Last February, Google announced Live View, which uses augmented reality to help understand which way to walk, with arrows and directions clearly overlaid on your view of the world.
Google Maps’ accomplishments in Malaysia include:
2011: Collaboration with Tourism Malaysia to highlight unique Malaysian locations in Street View.
2012: Google Maps launched Google Maps in dual languages—English and Malay in Malaysia along with traffic and transit features.
2013: Google starts Street View imaging for Malaysia.
2014: Google Maps Street View special collection for National Park was introduced.
2014: Google begins Street View imaging of the Peninsula Malaysia coastline on a kayak.
2015: Google Maps Street View special collection featuring Gunung Mulu National Park and Mount Kinabalu were introduced.
2015: Street View imaging using kayak concluded.
2016: Google Maps Street View special collection for Mount Tahan was introduced.
2017: Underwater Street View imaging off the coast of Pahang was introduced.
2018: Two-wheeler navigation function added to Google Maps.