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First Look: Inside the new Google Maps

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First Look: Inside the new Google Maps

3:07 /

The new Google Maps is visually overhauled and amped with cool tricks that make finding your way that much easier.

Google has updated the look and feel of its Google Maps app and some of what it can do. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET. And I'm gonna show you what's new in Google Maps. A lot of the changes are visual. Now the map spans the entire page instead of just part of it. And you can see that there is a floating search bar on top. Now say, I wanna search for sushi in San Francisco. The search results just popped up immediately on the screen. I can go and I can click on those or I can dig a little bit deeper. Google is tying in some recommendations from your friends on Google+. If you click your circles, then it will show some of your friend's favorite restaurants. Results are now organized by cards. And they give you a lot of information, details. Directions are front and center. You can easily save out location that's a favorite of yours. Street View is now much more front and center as well. And there are photos that other people have uploaded for general use. Street View has been available in Google Maps for a long time, but now Google is making it much easier to interact with. You could also tilt the screen, zoom in and out on the screen, and just get a view of everything around you. Directions show up in the left hand pane, along with everything else. You've got your biking directions, walking, driving, and public transport. Google will show you a blue line to get to your destination. That's the fastest route. Other routes will be highlighted in gray. And you can simply switch back and forth. Now Google has built a little bit of logic into Google Maps now, so knowing where you are A-- and knowing your destination B-- it could even suggest the most appropriate way for you to get somewhere. In this instance, Google knows that I am on foot most of the time, and that I like to take the bus. So, instead of taking a car, it suggests that I just walk and take the bus. You can see that the bus line is in blue, and my walking paths are dotted lines. A lot of the capabilities of Google Earth are also baked into maps now. And Google is really emphasizing its 3D capabilities. In the 3D view, you can tilt your landscape, zoom, and then out, and rotate around. You can also fly around to different areas on a map. The 3D maps do seem to take a little bit longer to render and load, but there's much more information. And it is pretty impressive that you don't have to add any extra plug-ins to do this, it just happens in the browser automatically. Previously in Google Maps, you could go inside certain establishments. You can do that here. The difference is that, if a user has created a photosphere, you can see a 360 view of the inside of places. One interesting aspect of the new Google Maps is that it adapts to you. It learns from the things that you search, the places you've checked in, which locations and businesses are important to you. So, when you see highlighted as your results on the map are probably different from somebody else's. So that's what's new in Google Maps. It's pretty sleek, huh. I'm Jessica Dolcourt for CNET. You can read much more about Google Maps at CNET.com.

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