Google Maps Will Soon Allow You to Share Your ETA, Add a Shortcut to Routine Destinations, and Create a Map of Your Location History
Although many of Google’s first-party applications were given a nice update over the course of Google I/O, Google Maps was not one of them. There was a minor update that shipped with the new Android N developer preview which allowed you to see your contacts on Maps and to share your contributions, but apart from that nothing really major was brought to the table.
New evidence found in the latest Google Maps update pushed out yesterday to the Play Store, version 9.26.1, indicates that Google is about to unveil a whole host of new and exciting quality of life and accessibility features. Among the most prominent features we discovered was the ability to share your ETA with other people, create a shortcut to start navigating towards your most common destinations, and the ability to create a private map of your location history.
Disclaimer: The evidence we dig up from the APK file of an app is not definitive. Google may choose to pull these features without any indication in a future release.
Sharing your ETA
We’ve all been there. You’re on your way to a gathering with your friends and family but thanks to some unforeseen traffic incident, you’re stuck in a grid-lock of unmoving vehicles. You’re anxiously sitting behind the wheel and (hopefully not, but probably are) texting updates to your contacts about how long it’ll take you to get there. We all know the statistics – texting while driving is a major contributing factor to motor vehicular accidents on the road. But you really have to let your friends and family know where you are and when you’re going to be there. That’s why Google seems to be adding a button that will allow you to quickly share your ETA with a quick blurb about the current traffic en route. You can also opt to automatically send updates about the progress of your trip in case your loved one is the kind who anxiously texts you multiple times asking you how much longer it’ll take.
<string name="SHARE_ETA_BUTTON">Share ETA</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_MESSAGE_HEAVY_TRAFFIC_FORMAT">On my way to %1$s. Heavy traffic. Should be there at %2$s.</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_MESSAGE_LIGHT_TRAFFIC_FORMAT">On my way to %1$s. Light traffic. Should be there at %2$s.</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_MESSAGE_NORMAL_TRAFFIC_FORMAT">On my way to %1$s. Usual traffic. Should be there at %2$s.</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_MESSAGE_NO_TRAFFIC_FORMAT">On my way to %1$s. Should be there at %2$s.</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_PROMO_TEXT">"Tap to tell people you've left & send updates about your progress"</string>
<string name="SHARE_ETA_PROMO_TITLE">Share your journey</string>
Common Destination Shortcut
If you use Google Maps to travel to a certain place fairly frequently, then you might feel annoyed with having to enter the destination into the navigation menu every time you want to go there. Why not create a home screen shortcut to that destination? (Seriously, why don’t you?) Many people probably didn’t realize they could even do such a thing, so Google will now be advertising the feature to users who travel a certain route fairly often.
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_DISMISS_TOAST">Add it later from the overflow menu.</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_MENU_ITEM">Add route to Home screen</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_NUDGEBAR_DESCRIPTION">Tap here to add a Home screen shortcut to this route</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_NUDGEBAR_TITLE">Go here often? Add this route</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_POPUP_ACCEPT">Add shortcut</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_POPUP_DISMISS">No, thank you</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_POPUP_TITLE">Next time, get directions to this place faster by adding a shortcut to the device’s Home screen</string>
<string name="CREATE_DIRECTIONS_SHORTCUT_TOAST">A shortcut to this route was added to the device’s Home screen</string>
Map of your Location History
People who use the desktop version of Google Maps might know about Google’s Location History page which overlays your locations in the past few months onto a map. Now, this feature seems to be headed to Android as well. Previously, users could only cycle through a timeline of their location on a day-by-day basis within the Google Maps app.
<string name="MULTI_ILLUSTRATION_LOCATION_HISTORY_PROMO_TEXT">Creates a private map of where you go with your signed-in devices. %s</string>
<string name="MULTI_ILLUSTRATION_PROMO_TITLE">Get more magic out of Google Maps</string>
As with any other Google app update, there are some more minor enhancements hidden away to improve the ease of use for more special use cases. Given how many people use Google’s services, though, these features will definitely be welcome by many, many people even if they don’t affect the rest of us.
First up, for wheelchair-bound users of Google Maps, the app will now tell you which places are wheelchair accessible so you can quickly tell if the place can accommodate you.
<string name="ACCESSIBILITY_WHEELCHAIR_ACCESSIBLE">Wheelchair accessible</string>
Next up, if you use Google Maps frequently for finding directions for modes of travel outside of driving, then a new feature will prompt you when you can’t travel to your destination by your selected method. For instance, if there is no public transportation route available to your destination, Google Maps will flash a toast message telling you that you can’t get there by public transport. A small, but nifty message so you can quickly refine your trip.
<string name="DESTINATION_REFINEMENT_NON_NAVIGABLE_BICYCLE_TOAST_TEXT">"Can't get there by cycling, using original destination."</string>
<string name="DESTINATION_REFINEMENT_NON_NAVIGABLE_TAXI_TOAST_TEXT">"Can't get there by taxi, using original destination."</string>
<string name="DESTINATION_REFINEMENT_NON_NAVIGABLE_TRANSIT_TOAST_TEXT">"Can't get there by public transport, using original destination."</string>
<string name="DESTINATION_REFINEMENT_NON_NAVIGABLE_WALK_TOAST_TEXT">"Can't get there by walking, using original destination."</string>
Finally, if you’re traveling to a remote area where you’re likely to lose a data connection, then you should probably download an offline direction list to the destination just in case you accidentally exit navigation and need to start over. In case you forget to do so, Google Maps will now automatically ask you to download offline directions to the area if it detects that the area will have spotty data connection somewhere along the route.
<string name="DIRECTIONS_OFFLINE_PROMO_AREA">Tap to download offline directions for this area</string>
<string name="DIRECTIONS_OFFLINE_PROMO_ROUTE">Tap to download offline directions for spotty connections on your route</string>
In our previous teardown of the Google App, we discovered an upcoming feature that will show popular searches in your area. Well it seems that Google is bringing this feature to other apps in its catalogue, as now the Google Maps app will now display new and popular places in your surrounding area. This could be useful for people who have lived for a long time in an area but are looking to try something new and exciting, or people who are visiting a location and want to see what’s interesting in that area.
<string name="ROVER_NOTIFICATIONS_OPT_IN_ACTIONABLE_TOAST">New & popular places notifications turned on.</string>
<string name="ROVER_NOTIFICATIONS_OPT_IN_TOAST">New & popular places notifications turned on. To turn off, visit your notifications settings.</string>
<string name="ROVER_NOTIFICATION_SETTINGS_SUMMARY">Get updates about new and popular places near you</string>
<string name="ROVER_NOTIFICATION_SETTINGS_TITLE">New and popular places</string>
Finally, for people who love to track how your driving (especially those who need to do so for tax purposes), then you’ll love the new Maps feature that will track how many miles you drive and even congratulate you on a new milestone of miles driven. Hooray!
<string name="SWIPE_MILESTONE_SHARE_TITLE">Share milestone to...</string>
That’s all we found in the latest Google Maps update. Stay tuned to future posts in our series when we investigate what’s new and what’s coming in Google’s Apps.