Missed Google I/O? Here’s everything you need to know part 2

The first ever virtual Google I/O recently took place. In case you missed the event, we have created a two series blog post with the biggest announcements to bring you up to speed.

In this blog post we brought you up to speed on technical announcements and new features. Now, it is time to deep dive into some of the new Google Maps updates.

Wayfinding wonders

If there is one thing we love, it is live data. A static map quickly loses its value, but with real-time data it becomes a powerful tool.

During Google I/O Google Maps announced three updates that really caught our attention: More detailed maps, expanded ‘Popular Times’, and more relevant information.

Explore the world in details

In 2019, Google gave users of the private consumer app a new sense of direction when they launched Live View, an augmented reality (AR) feature to make it even easier for people to figure out which way to walk. 

Until now, Live View has provided users with arrows and directions placed in the real world and now Google is also adding helpful details about the shops and restaurants around you to the mix. This means that if you’re traveling by foot, AR in Live View will show you information about shops and restaurants such as busyness and recent reviews and photos. If you’re traveling, Live View will also tell you where you are relative to your hotel, so you can always find your way back. 

Expanding ‘Popular Times’

The ‘popular times’ feature in Google Maps has been around for quite some time, but for a lot of people it is now more important than ever. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus more people care about avoiding crowds and peak hours. In fact, more than 80 million people use the live busyness information on Google every day. 

Now Google is expanding the functionality to show the busyness of an entire area, allowing users to see just how bustling a neighborhood or part of town is at any given moment. This means that if you want to keep things low-key, you can use Maps to see the hotspots to avoid. And if you’re looking for the most popular places to visit, you can use area busyness to scope out the liveliest neighborhoods at a glance.


More relevant information

In the future, Google Maps will provide you with more relevant information based on what time of day it is and whether you’re traveling. That means you will be able to see, for instance, coffee shops in the morning, when you need a caffeine fix to start your day, and burger joints at night, when you’re hungry for dinner. If you are out exploring new countries or cities, Google will also make tourist attractions and local landmarks easier to find.


Cool consumer call outs

If you are more interested in the consumer space Google also announced 16 new updates designed to make your everyday life easier - from starting your car with your phone to searching your screenshots using Google Lens. If you want to know more about these new features, check out this blog post.

Did you miss our story about the technical sessions at this year's Google IO? No worries, you can find it here.

Explore technical sessions