Google is rolling out some new Maps features to its iOS and Android apps for the summer, including new location sharing options, cycling directions enhancements, and photorealistic aerial views of famous city landmarks.
First, location sharing. Google says it wants to make it easier to see when someone who has shared their location with you arrives or leaves a place, “so you can more easily coordinate schedules” and meetups. To that end, it’s introducing location sharing notifications, which work similarly to the equivalent feature in Apple’s Find My app.
Google offers the following use case:
Say you’re headed to a concert with a group of friends. If they’ve already chosen to share their location with you, you can set a notification for the concert venue’s address so you can see when they’ve arrived and meet up quickly. You could also set a notification to see when they’ve left the venue — just in case you get split up.
Google says it has built the feature with privacy in mind, which is why notifications can only be set for someone who has already chosen to share their location with you. In addition, that person will receive multiple reminders to let them know they are sharing their location, in the form of push notifications and recurring monthly emails, and users can stop sharing their location anytime.
Next up, Google is adding more granular information to cycling directions in the more than 100 cities where they are available, including things like whether a particular route involves a major or a minor road, if the route suggested includes stairs or steep hills, and when you should be prepared to encounter heavy traffic.
Finally, Google is bringing photorealistic aerial views of “nearly 100 of the world’s most popular landmarks” in cities including Barcelona, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. Google says the aerial views are a “first step” towards integrating its immersive view feature for cities that the company previewed in May and which is scheduled to roll out later this year.
Google says the aerial views of landmarks and location sharing notifications are rolling out now globally on Google Maps on Android and iOS, with cycling route information launching in the coming weeks in those cities where cycling directions are available.