Let’s face it – we have too many apps for too many things on our phones. In our daily commute, the two apps that are the most used for a modern day professional would probably be Google Maps and Uber.
Google Maps, for the times when we have meetings at locations foreign to us, and Uber, to get a ride to those locations.
But you see, both exist independently, meaning you have to have two apps open simultaneously, which then involves the extra step of switching in between them to get things done.
Book An Uber Directly In Google Maps
Today, Google is rolling out an update to users of its Google Maps application that introduces an entire suite of improvements – namely in the overall user interface, as well as additional features.
One of those features is integration with the Uber service.
This is what you are used to seeing.
Upon navigating to a specified destination, you will have the option of seeing how the journey will pan out with different modes of transportation – driving, public transportation, walking, and finally on the extreme right, ride-hailing.
In Singapore, you will see the different services offered by Grab and Uber, and what used to happen is that Google Maps will prompt you to open their individual apps for you to proceed to hail a ride.
After you get Google Maps’ latest update, this is what you will be greeted with – that’s if you’re in the US, but it shouldn’t differ too much for Uber. Now for the ride hailing tab on Maps, it’s as if you are booking a ride on the Uber app itself.
Companies like Uber are openly sharing their API so that partners like Google can easily integrate their services into any application.
Watch how the entire process works through this video that Google has uploaded.
Unfortunately at the time of this writing, the update has yet to reach me, but rest assure that this is a global update that Google has rolled out.
We also expect Grab rides to also be available alongside Uber on Google Maps.
Google understands that not all of us use ride-hailing apps like Uber, so they have another solution for the rest of us so that we don’t feel left out.
Working together with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Google has integrated real-time updates for buses in Singapore.
This means that you will no linger need to fire up a separate bus app from each of the service providers just to check the arrival times of buses you want to take.
More than that, the map also tells you the route that the buses will take, because not everyone remembers where all the buses go.
Enhanced Offline Maps Experience
Google also wants to help you out when you don’t have access to data all the time.
This especially comes in handy when you travel overseas, where wifi is hard to come by and prepaid data can be expensive.
This is what you used to see when viewing offline maps that you have saved using your hotel’s WiFi. All you have is just the map of the area you downloaded, nothing more.
Well, Google wants to change that, and the next time you download offline maps, you will be saving more than just a map.
In the new update, you can do more than just zoom into the downloaded maps and search the streets for an address. Now. just as if you were online, you can search for various types of establishments offline – from restaurants to bars.
Welcome Indoor Maps
We always use maps to figure our way around the outdoors. Google is taking the maps game one step further, with the introduction of indoor maps.
Google says that they currently have more than 110 venues in Singapore already mapped.
The idea is for it to be a directory for buildings – especially shopping malls, for all those times you forget where your favourite stores are, or have trouble finding a new one.
Expect malls such as 313@Somerset, VivoCity and ION Orchard; MRT stations like Orchard, Raffles Place, City Hall, Promenade and Esplanade all ready for you to navigate through.
This makes us a part of the 10 billion square feet of indoor floor plans that Google has already mapped out worldwide.
And For Those Who Hate Crowds
Hate crowds? We do too, and Google wants to save us from the misery.
You may have come across this feature while doing a Google Search on your computer of your favourite restaurants, where on the right bar, Google shows you the peak timings for these places.
Now this feature has made its way to mobile, and in Google Maps.
You can get real-time information about the crowds of a place, and if there aren’t any, Google will give you known peak timings that you should avoid.
No Other Map App Will Ever Come Close
On Google Maps, nearly 250 million miles are driven daily, and 1 billion km worth of transit results is shown every day.
Together with the fact that more than 200 countries and territories have also been mapped, Google Maps is the undeniable king of mobile navigation for anyone around the world.
All these new integrations will only make us more dependent on the app, for the better.