Google Maps marks 15-year milestone with new features

​Google Maps 'explore tab'BCCL - Non Copyright
​Google Maps 'explore tab'
Google has dominated the market for navigation apps in recent years but the latest updates appear aimed at staying ahead of challengers including from Apple, which recently revamped its own maps application.

A Google Maps "explore" tab offers reviews and details regarding restaurants, shops, theaters and other venues, taking advantage of location-sensing capabilities in smartphones.
​'Commute' tabGetty Images
​'Commute' tab
A "commute" tab in the Maps application promises to deliver efficient routes to or from work whether people are driving or using public transit.
​Transit insightsGetty Images
​Transit insights
Last year, Google added a feature that predicts how crowded a bus, train or subway is likely to be.

Transit tidbits have been enhanced to include whether buses or trains tend to be hot or cold, accommodations for people with disabilities, and whether there is security on board.

Added transit insights will begin rolling out next month, with availability varying by region and municipal transportation agencies.
​All new 'updates' tabBCCL
​All new 'updates' tab
A new "updates" tab in the app will spotlight "must-see" spots getting attention, and let users chat with businesses to get answers to questions.

And, the once solid-red "pin" pointing out map locations is now made up of the four colors used in other Google logos.

A playful "party-themed car icon" will temporarily replace the blue dot that users now see when they are navigating.
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