At Google I/O today, Google previewed a major update to its maps app for Android and iOS which will enter private beta tomorrow morning. The updated app will feature a new look and feel, a new directional view, greater personalization, traffic incident reports, and integration of Google Earths imagery, said Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps.
As Graf showed in a demo, the new directional view gives you a full-screen map, with directions appearing in a popup at the upper left. The app will now show public transit alternatives as possible routes by default. There’s also a new public transport scheduling view.
Also, Google Maps will now figure out from your search terms what kinds of locations interest you. For example, if you search for “sushi” in San Francisco, the app will put icons on every sushi spot in the area. You can also limit placement of the icons to only restaurants that have been reviewed by your friends, or by professional restaurant reviewers.
If a location you’re looking for has a Google Offer, it will pull the offer directly into the listing.
Along similar lines, if you’re looking for a location on a small road that otherwise wouldn’t show up on a map, the app will adjust the map for you, exaggerating and highlighting the names of the smaller streets.
Also, the app will now integrate live incident reports with traffic reports, trying to reroute you around an accident or some other incident on the fly.
Google plans a public release of the updated app this summer, according to Graf.
You can request an invitation to the private beta here.