announced today three feature updates to its iOS app. With live location sharing in the iMessage app, a traffic widget for the , and dark mode, Google Maps is positioning itself as a stronger competitor against iOS’ native Apple Maps.
Live location sharing was already possible in— tapping on the blue dot that shows where you are allows you to share your ETA to your destination with select friends and even how much battery life your phone has. But the your location without navigating away from your conversation. By default, your site for one hour, but it’s possible to extend it to up to three days — if you want to stop sharing, tap the “stop” button on the thumbnail.
to send GPS coordinates of their location in iMessage — but if you’re trying to meet up with friends, this wouldn’t be as useful as sharing a live place. built into iMessage, so Google is taking a leaf out of Apple’s book to beat them on their app. For a long time, , but in 2018, Apple completely rebuilt Maps from the ground up, making it more competitive. Plus, as iOS 15 rolls out, Apple Maps will add AR functionality, better public transit features, more , and other improvements.
Google Maps added Waze-like traffic and incident report features to its app in 2019, which made it more appealing for driving commuters — the app says that one of its “most powerful features is the ability to see live traffic conditions in an area.” Now, users with the latest Google Maps app will add a traffic widget to their home screen, which can quickly share what traffic is like in their area. The device also allows users to set frequent destinations, like home, work, or the gas station, and navigate to those places with just a tap. Though the , this feature will also roll out to iOS users in the coming weeks.
AsMaps compete to become the best navigation app, an unlikely competitor comes Snapchat, creating a more social experience on its Snap Map. , Snapchat added the My Places feature to the Snap Map, which helps users find new spots to visit based on the activity of other users in their area. The ephemeral messaging app also announced at the end of July that during Q2 of 2021, the platform grew revenue and daily active users at the highest rates it has achieved in the . Still, as of last year, had over 1 billion, worldwide users.