The “New” Google Maps
Lots of Changes Happenin’ for a New Google Maps.
Every year as the nice weather rolls in, Google has it’s new releases showcased on their yearly conference. This time called I/O. Not that Google only does new things once a year, but some of the biggest stuff happens about now. Last year the Nexus tablet was released with the lastest Android operating system, Android 4.2 called Jelly Bean.
The coolest feature of the tablet, as far as I was concerned, was that when you used Google Maps to show a Google “See Inside” virtual tour, you were able to select a feature called “compass mode”. This allowed you, when holding up the tablet outright, to view the tour changing perspective, as you panned to the right or left (and up/down), as if you where turning your head from side to side.
But that is last years news. What has been happening this year, are the changes to Google Maps / Places.
The Places page, is the where you find information, after clicking on the pin seen on the Google Map. A pop-up box floats above the pin, and allows a person to see information about the listing. The Places Pages appear after clicking the words “More Info”. “Places” was being renamed last year, referred to as +Local page. Today it seems Business Page, or Places for Businesses is correct (I wish they would make up their mind). “Places” is still the universally understood term most people use. ANYWAY, the point is, there have been a few design revisions in the last few months. Here is a Places page from fall of 2012.
Kinda bland don’t you think?
But at the time it was ok.
Soon after, Google attached the images as thumbnails along side organic search results, for a business in the browser. VERY COOL! Not just for Google Map searches, but captivating images that scream LOOK HERE!
The latest Places/+Local page design was sometime in Feb 2013. I remember this after attending the local Google for Entrepreneurs event when I met Steve Grove, who is heading up the +Local project at Google. This was the new look. A bigger header image like Facebook had done called a “cover photo”, only with a map (this can be replaced with a cover photo of your choice).
It SEEMS like these are following Facebook design implementations. Being a designer myself, I would consider this to be just good ideas coming out from the marketing departments of both companies. The last revision has the photographers like myself even happier, because now the “See Inside” image is more prominent, with a larger thumbnail and a title that sets above the image. It’s even in it’s own box!
You might even see the subtle suggestion to visit this place under-neath the “See Inside” box. How can you resist it. Go Inside and walk around just like on “Streetview”. A 360 degree, interactive, panoramic view. You may see it elsewhere but not with this much detail, or image quality, like that produced by professional photographers such as myself. Google made certain that standards were maintained to have these look great, consistant all over the world.
So I guess your wondering what’s next? Well Google Maps of course! The “New Google Maps” is so new that as of this posting I have not even seen it (my invitation is on the way). When you go to Google Maps today, you will see an offer to learn more” and ask for your own invitation, by clicking the button. An email is then sent to you.
Sorry, I have not gotten my preview, but I might guess it will be Neat-o, Daddy-o!