Technology

Google Maps Makes Its Best Feature Better And Brings It To iOS

Google Maps ETA sharing
TeroVesalainen / Pixabay

The Google Maps ETA sharing feature is pretty useful, as it allows you to share your navigation route with friends and family in real time. However, Google feels it can improve the feature further, and thus, it is adding the ability to share your estimated time of arrival via third-party apps.

What’s new with Google Maps ETA sharing?

Google is making the Google Maps ETA sharing feature available on iOS as well. The ETA sharing feature has been available on Android since March 2017. However, the ability to share ETAs via third-party apps is new even for Android users.

“Google Maps is improving journey sharing on Android and bringing it to iOS, making it easier to share your ETA with loved ones so you can keep your hands off your phone and your eyes on the road,” the search giant said in a blog post.

With the update, users will be able to share their ETA using third-party apps like Facebook Messenger, Line, and WhatsApp. The new feature is available when you are navigating by driving, walking and cycling. It ends after a set time or automatically once you reach your destination.

The announcement about the update to the Google Maps ETA sharing feature is accompanied by a video which describes some situations in which it can be helpful to share your ETA. Some suggestions include coordinating party-goers’ arrival times for a surprise party or simply knowing the locations of your friends.

The Google Maps ETA sharing feature shares your destination, the directions for your journey and even your battery life. The person you are sharing your location with may also share their location with you. To access the feature, tap on the ˄ button and then select “Share trip progress.”

Locate EV charging stations

Google is regularly updating Google Maps to ensure it stays ahead of the competition. The latest update to the ETA sharing feature is part of this effort. Earlier this week, Google rolled out another new feature which helps users spot EV charging stations. Maps will now show EV chargers in both Tesla and Chargepoint’s global networks for Android and iOS users.

“Our newest feature brings helpful information about electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to the Map, so you can be confident that your car will be charged and ready for your ride, wherever you’re headed,” Google said when announcing the new feature.

Google Maps will also add support for other charging networks specific to different countries. For instance, the app will show the EVgo, Blink, and SemaConnect networks in the U.S., Chargefox in Australia and New Zealand, and Chargemaster and Pod Point chargers in the U.K.

Google Maps will show chargers nearby when a user searches using terms like “EV charging” or “charging stations.” Further, the maps will give information on the type of ports available at a station, pricing, capacity, reviews and ratings. One thing that’s missing is the status of the charging stalls, which means drivers have no way of knowing if the chargers are occupied.

New features for commuters

Google Maps got another new feature earlier this month. The search giant launched a new Commute tab on Android and iOS. The tab allows users to “take control of their daily commute” with one-tap access to live traffic and transit information. Users can also personalize the feature to suit their need. The feature will show traffic conditions along their daily route and suggest alternative routes if it spots a delay.

Google gives Android users one other feature over iOS: delay and disruption notifications while en-route. New features have also been added for commuters who use public transit. In about 80 cities, users will see the live status of their bus or train. For instance, the search giant partnered with Transport New South Wales in Sydney to show the next bus or train. Google plans to add support for more cities going ahead.

Further, to make the trip more pleasant, Google Maps is adding support for Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play Music to allow users to control music within the Maps app. Again, Google has given additional functionality to Android users in the form of deeper integration with Spotify, allowing users to browse audio content from within the Maps app.