Amazing New Google Maps Features That Will Help Improve Your Travel

Google Maps has become one of those apps that has entered our daily rotation since it launched. The navigational tool has evolved from being a mere map into a reliable, everyday companion, guiding us to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible, either via a private vehicle, public transportation, or on foot. You can even use it to locate your car in a busy parking lot and look up gas and tool prices. But the app has become especially useful when you're traveling, from translating foreign addresses to notifying you of how busy a specific area or attraction is.

More recently, however, the popular app has rolled out even more nifty features that can be a godsend for travelers. If you're mostly relying on public transportation, it's now easier to figure out which transit will get you to your destination faster. The enhanced transit recommendation system does a better job of providing you with the most optimal routes, taking into consideration a number of factors, including ETA and trip duration. It can also customize routes based on your preferences, like lower costs, less walking, and more.

Always find yourself getting lost? Google Maps has also introduced a feature that specifically pinpoints train station entrances and exits, complete with visual cues, which can be especially useful during peak hours or when you are in a crowded area. Per Google, this feature has been made available in over 80 cities, including London, New York, and Sydney.

An enhanced search feature for finding things to do

There's no denying that a detailed itinerary is needed for a smooth, fuss-free trip, but if you've squeezed free time into your schedule and found yourself suddenly stumped as to where to go and what to do, Google Maps' new AI-powered feature can help you find an exciting activity.

As it stands, when you key in the phrase "things to do" on the app, it will only generate a list of nearby tourist attractions, like museums, parks, and aquariums. But as noted in the tech giant's press release, the new feature will deliver "thematic results" that are more detailed and are likely more aligned with your interests. For instance, Google noted that if you're in Tokyo and search for possible activities using Google Maps, it will provide you with more specific results, like "anime" or "cherry blossoms."

What's more, if you have a general idea of what you want to do but lack familiarity with the area, you can search specific phrases like "animal latte art," and the app will yield visual results to streamline your decision-making process. The photos are culled from Google Maps users worldwide, so you can expect to browse a wide array of options. This feature is available in select countries like France, Germany, and Japan, but the company is looking to offer it in other areas in the foreseeable future.

Group planning made easier

Planning a trip with an entire group, especially if it's a particularly large one, can prove to be a headache. Aside from figuring out logistics, taking into consideration everyone's preferences can be particularly stressful. The traditional methods of reaching a consensus, either by individual messages or wading through a flood of messages in a group chat, are far from appealing.

With Google Maps' new and improved list and collaboration functionality, everyone in the group can voice out their opinion in a streamlined way, making trip planning more organized and democratic. There is now an option to make shared lists, which everyone can view and pitch in. You and your friends can populate the list with places of interest and write accompanying notes, and anyone who has access to the list can use emojis to indicate their interest or disinterest with the inputted destinations. It also functions as a reference point when you're finally on the trip, so all that's left to do is click on the group-selected destinations to figure out how to get there.