Google has updated Maps to keep with the visual theme introduced with Android 5.0 Lollipop, which it calls material design. The new mobile apps now feature bold headers of solid flat colors and animations that evoke pieces of paper sliding over one another. The apps also offer new features, including reservations you can make at restaurants through the app via OpenTable, and both time and price estimates for the Uber transport method introduced in May.
The update will roll out over the next few days, so don’t be disappointed if you aren’t seeing it right away. Based on the previews supplied by the company, the visual overhaul here is as pleasant and well-executed as is the rest of Android 5.0, which I’m particularly smitten with. The additional features are also very helpful, with reservation integration eliminating the additional step of having to open a separate app or web page in order to book a table once you’ve used Google to see what’s available around you.
The deepening of the Uber partnership is particularly interesting – it will admittedly help anyone who uses the transport service to get around, but it also means Google is getting even cosier with a company that is also a portfolio member in its investment arm, Google Ventures. Building Uber time and price right into the Maps app gives it a considerable advantage over other means of private transit, including standard taxi services.
We’ll keep you updated on Google’s progress as it continues to put material design on everything within its considerable realm of software and apps – and of course we’ll be watching the Uber connection closely, as the next stage would presumably be offering Uber booking direct, without requiring a user to even leave the app.