Google Maps launch site goes live early
Google appears to have mistakenly leaked slides showing off the new features if its Maps facility. An official unveiling was not expected until the Google I/O event gets underway in San Francisco later today, but some sites noticed the new images and quickly took screenshots.
While Google has not commented on the leak, the fact that the site was quickly taken down again suggests its release was certainly unintentional, but the secrets revealed have made users all the more excited by the contents of the official announcement.
It appears that Google is planning to make Maps a more personal experience for each user, with a new UI making it simpler to find the specific information you want. For example, you will now be able to compare all travel options on a single page, allowing you to compare times and prices for multiple public transport options without having to jump between pages.
The sign up page asserts that:
"The new Google Maps draws you a tailored map for every search and click you make. So whatever you're trying to find or wherever you're trying to go, you'll always have a map highlighting the things that matter most."
Google Now, Earth, Flights all thought to be integrated
It is thought that the "tailored map for every search" assertion will signal the arrival of Google Now data, which tracks your search behaviour and will offer suggestions of things to do in your location based on your history.
Google Maps is likely to boast a new 'smarter' search box, which adds information to your map as you type. For example, if you are looking for Italian restaurants near you, their locations will be revealed as you type. Alongside this, you will also be given immediate access to reviews and ratings to aid your decision.
As well as the familiar look and feel of the 2D map users have become accustomed to, it seems likely that there will now be the chance to explore your destination from a new perspective using the birds-eye view provided by Google Earth.
Travelling across the globe will also be simplified with the addition of Google Flights information, which quickly shows you the distance between both destinations, how long your journey is likely to be and the cheapest flights available.
Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, said: "While we won't know for certain whether these changes will come to pass until the official unveiling, they certainly seem plausible enough and are likely to improve the user experience of Google Maps."