I wrote last week about the new personalization and social features of the new and improved Google Maps. I thought it would be fun to show the differences between the current and new UIs for some of the same searches. Accordingly the following screens illustrate the basic features of Maps compared on the old and new interfaces. (All of the images can be enlarged.)
Below is a Google Maps result for the query “New York hotels.” The existing UI is first, followed by the new UI, which I greatly prefer.
If you want to see a list of results, which no longer appear in a column on the left, you select the desired list from the info window: “top reviewers,” “your circles,” “list of top results” and so on. You’re then taken to a separate page of results that looks like this:
Note that there’s really only a single ad position in the info window on the new Maps. However on the second page, list results (above) there are sponsored listings.
The presentation of individual business information is also different in the new Maps. Below are two screens for the same sushi restaurant in New York: “Sushi Yasuda.” The info window has been moved off the map and into a fixed position in the upper left (second below). Overall the information is much more clear and less cluttered in the new Maps.
All the images associated with a business location, including Street View images, are better organized and easier to access. Below is a comparison of the old and the new versions of Street View. User-generated photographs are laid out horizontally on the bottom of the screen. When clicked they fill the full screen.
Beyond the improved presentation of images, perhaps the best thing about the new approach to Street View is the fact that you no longer need to drag the “little man” to the desired spot on the map. You simply click the location on the map you want to see in Street View and it offers up that option in the upper left.
Google Maps also has a number of new “discovery” features. For example, a general search for “New York” enables users to “explore this area” and how to “get around.” On the bottom of the map in the lower right corner is a caret that opens up a horizontal pane of images and places to explore (second image below).
I haven’t used the new maps on mobile and I have only done a handful of searches and comparisons between the old and new Maps on the PC. However I have almost nothing critical to say about the changes. It seems to me to be a significant improvement across the board.