Apps and Software

Google Maps update lets you creep on your friends

Calling all cyclists, aerial nerds, and friends who forget to text
By Alex Perry  on 
Google Maps app on tablet
Outdoorsy folks got some slick new Google Maps updates. Credit: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

That scorching summer weather isn’t going away anytime soon, so Google Maps is introducing a few new features for outdoorsy types. 

Google announced a trio of additions to its popular GPS navigation app on Wednesday (July 27). The first one was teased back at Google I/O 2022: 3D aerial views of more than 100 famous landmarks from around the world. New York, Tokyo, and Barcelona are just a few of the cities that support this feature right now, and Google said you can find these by searching for the landmark in question and looking at the “Photos” section of the menu.

Perhaps of more practical use are some more nuanced info bits that Google will add to navigation directions for cyclists. According to Google, cycling routes will now alert users to things like car traffic and stairs. It’s not a groundbreaking improvement, but those are things that can ruin a cyclist’s day, so it’ll be nice to have.

Lastly and perhaps most interestingly, Google is adding some new social features to Maps. If a friend has opted into location sharing with you, you’ll be able to get notifications for when they arrive at and depart certain locations. The idea is to make it easier to coordinate meeting up at big events or traveling — and to not freak out when your friend forgets to text you where they are. For privacy-minded folks, Google said anyone who shares their location with a friend will get regular push notifications letting them know it’s happening, in case they want to opt out.

Whether you’re traveling to London to check out Big Ben, cycling through the streets of Brooklyn, or meeting up at a big concert venue with friends, these new Google Maps updates have your back. Personally, I’m staying near the air conditioner.

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