Google Search and Maps Apps Gain ‘SOS Alerts’ Feature

Google launched a new feature for its Search and Maps apps today that aims to help users stay on top of events when a natural disaster or other crisis occurs near their location (via TechCrunch).

Called “SOS Alerts”, the notifications will appear at the top of Google search results and Maps when a user looks for information about an incident or the affected area.



In the Search app, Google will offer an overview of the incident using maps, relevant news stories, emergency phone numbers where available, websites, and any other information that might be useful. In the event that the user is in close proximity to the incident, Google may also send notifications directing users to further details.

The same information will show up in the Maps app where relevant, for example in search results, with real-time updates detailing road closures and traffic and transit updates.

Google has worked with several organizations to bring the feature to its Search and Maps apps, including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, and Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

Google Maps and Search can be downloaded from the App Store for free.

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Google adds salon and spa bookings through Maps and Search

 Look out StyleSeat and other salon booking apps, starting today Google will let people book hair and spa appointments. “So that fresh haircut or palm tree-green mani is only a couple taps away,” a post on Google’s blog tells us. The addition is an expansion through Reserve with Google, which rolled out a feature last year to book wellness and fitness classes right from a… Read More

Google Maps now lets users add wheelchair accessibility details for locations

 Back in December, Google finally added accessibility details to Maps. It was a long awaited addition, but an extremely welcome one for the more than three million people in the U.S. who require wheelchair accessibility. As we noted at the time, however, the available information still left a lot to be desired. Maps has currently collected accessibility data for almost seven million places,… Read More

Google Maps Gains Local Guides Widget and Transit Transfer Reminders

Google Maps received an update on Wednesday that makes it easier to contribute reviews to points of interest and adds the option to get reminders to make a transfer on a transit journey.

The user contribution aspect comes in the form of a new “Local Guides” widget that allows users to propose new places to visit, to comment on existing points of interest, and upload location photos.



The new widget becomes available when people register to become a Local Guide through the Contributions pane in the app. By signing up, users earn points by adding information to Maps like reviews and photos of venues.

The level-based points system is gamified and users can earn rewards, so guides who get to level four receive three months of free access to Google Play Music and 75 percent off rentals in the Google Play Movie store, for example. More information on Local Guides is available here.

Elsewhere in the new update, Google has added an option for users to receive a reminder when it’s time to make a change when following transit directions. The new toggle appears at the bottom of the directions screen, beneath the toggle for a reminder to leave on time.

Lastly, for owners of iPhones that support 3D Touch, Google has added a Peek and Pop gesture to preview list items, such as search results.

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Google Maps for Android adds Street View images in navigation to show your turns

 Google Maps has quietly rolled out a new feature that will make it easier for you to see where you need to go when using turn-by-turn navigation: integrated Street View images on the directions screen. While the app has always allowed you to see an overview of the upcoming turns and distance between them, the new feature introduces an option to tap to see the associated Street View imagery… Read More

Google Maps Now Remembers Where You Parked Your Car

Google yesterday announced a feature to help Google Maps users remember where they’re leaving their car once they’ve arrived at their destination.

The feature is simple enough to activate once you’ve parked up, and like Apple Maps, if you have your iPhone connected to your car via USB audio or Bluetooth, Google Maps will automatically tag your vehicle’s location on the map when you disconnect it.



If your iPhone isn’t connected to your car, you’ll have to do this manually: Open up the app, tap the blue location dot and then select “Set as parking location” to add it to the map.

Tapping on the parking icon that remains on the map also opens the parking card, which includes options to share the location with friends and view pictures of the parking area.

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Google Maps for iOS Gains New Timeline Feature

Google today announced that its popular Timeline feature for Google Maps on Android has expanded to Google Maps for iOS, making it available to iPhone and iPad users for the first time.

With Timeline, Google Maps keeps track of all of the places that have been visited, so users can have a past account of where they’ve been and what they were doing.

What was the name of that antique store I popped into the other day? Where was that coffee shop we discovered on our last vacation? Did I drop off the dry cleaning on Tuesday or Wednesday? Answering questions like these used to take some guesswork (and a great memory). But with Your Timeline on Google Maps, Android and desktop users could quickly revisit the things they’ve done and places they’ve been. Starting today, Google Maps users on iOS can join in on the fun and see a daily snapshot of their life as well.

The Timeline is fully editable, with users able to delete a day, date range, or complete location history at any time. It’s also customizable with different activity types, so users can mark what they were doing and what mode of transportation was being used.

Place cards of locations or businesses that are searched for in Google Maps will include the dates of past visits and can be used to quickly access Timeline information, plus Google also includes an option to receive monthly emails summarizing all of the places that have been visited.

The new Timeline features are available to iOS users starting today.

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Google Maps for iOS Gains Directions Widget for Turn-By-Turn Navigation on Lock Screen

Google Maps for iOS was today updated to version 4.30.0, introducing a new Directions Widget that allows Google Maps users to access turn-by-turn navigation directly on the lock screen of the iPhone.

The widget can be enabled by going to the Today View of the Notification Center, scrolling down to the “Edit” button, and then enabling Google Directions. Once turned on, turn-by-turn navigation directions will be available through the widget in the Notification Center, which can be accessed by swiping right on the lock screen.



Today’s update also introduces a new Google Maps iMessage app that’s designed to let users send their current location to friends and family members without the need to leave the Messages app.

The new Google Maps Messages app can be enabled through the Messages App Store. When installed, it establishes the user’s location and then allows that information to be shared right in Messages.

Along with the new widget and Messages app, the new version of Google Maps also includes unspecified bug fixes.

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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