Google Maps iPhone App Update Review

A Review of the Latest Version of Google Maps for iPhone

Google Maps Update ReviewSeveral months ago I started using the latest version of the Google Maps app and I noticed significant improvements compared to the version I previously reviewed. I’ve been meaning to write this article for a while, and as I was quite critical in my previous review of the Google Maps app, I wanted to address the improvements made on this version, especially since I’ve realised how bad a navigation app van be, i.e. Apple Maps, and that Google Maps really was quite good in comparison. Some of the old issues have also been resolved… but some still remain.

It is worth noting that the version of the Google Maps app that I previously reviewed was the Android version and I was using a cheap Android phone. I am not sure if the fact I was using a cheap phone would have affected the version of the app that would have been available to me at the time.

In any case, now I am using the latest version of the Google Maps app on an iPhone 4S.

 

Cool New Features

Multiple Route Options

My favourite new feature is the option to select one of 3 different routes, just like on the computer version of Google Maps. On the previous versions of the Google Maps phone app you could only use the default route. Having 3 options means you can usually select the route that avoids the toll roads, which is an important consideration for me sometimes. However, sometimes all of the options provided are on tolled roads, which is unfortunate. A non-toll road option should always be offered.

Google Maps Multiple Route Options 2 & 3 Google Maps Multiple Route Options 1

Visualisation of Lanes on Roads

The app now shows you visually how many lanes there are on the road and which lanes are for continuing straight and which lanes you need to be in if you wish to turn. This is very useful to prepare in advance to take a turn, e.g. to get in the correct lane before its too late or more difficult to do so. FOr example, it is not always possible to see the arrows on the road in enough time  if traffic is heavy and vehicles are covering the road markings. The other benefit is, as in the example below, that it lets you know in advance that you don’t necessarily need to be in the far left lane to take the left turn. You can also be in the lane that is 2nd from the left.

Google Maps Lane Visualisation Info

 

 

Improvements

Pronunciation: I noticed some improvements in the voice navigators pronunciation of words, but they still have a long way to go on that front.

Navigation: The app seems to be better at knowing where you can and cannot turn, i.e. “No Right Turn” or “No Left Turn” signs that you usually experience around the City Centre. This was a problem I experienced on the old version and I haven’t experienced it yet on the latest version.

 

Suggested Improvements

Multiple Destinations

The Computer version of Google Maps allows you to choose multiple destinations for a journey. I would find this functionality very useful if it was available on the phone app.

Google Maps Multiple Destinations

Google Maps Multiple Destination Selector

Avoidances Options

On most Sat Nav devices you have the option to preset the device to avoid certain things on all routes. This is most useful for avoiding toll roads while still offering the next fastest or shortest route to your destination. Google should add  an Avoidance feature to the next version of the the phone app, especially the option to avoid toll roads.

Location of Toll Booths

I would find it very useful to know where exactly the toll booths are located on each tolled road. That way, one could turn off the motorway at the exit before the toll both and then one could either continue on their journey on the back-roads or find one’s way back to the motorway at a later point, after the toll bridge.

The Google Maps app provides step by step info on which turns to take and it tells you which roads are “tolled” or “partially tolled”. But it doesn’t say where the toll booths are located. This could be included as one of the steps.

Route to Marker

In many cases, in my experience, even though the location marker is correct, the route you are given to get to that location marker is incorrect. Often you ends up in a lane way behind a wall where you cannot actually access the building in question. You then need to go back out onto the road and find the actual entrance to the housing estate or business park and find the correct way to get to the marker so that you can actually enter the building. This has always been a problem and is still a problem.

Example

Google Maps Route to Location Marker Issues

Route to Location Marker is Incorrect, i.e. the route to the house is wrong

In the example above the you are advised to take a right turn into a small industrial estate. At the point when you are told you have arrived at your destination, you are in the middle of the industrial estate. The house marked by this location marker is in Summerhill Close: the housing estate behind the industrial estate. There is no way to get to that housing estate through this industrial estate. It is behind a wall. What you need to do to get to the house is drive back out of the industrial estate, turn right, take the 2nd right and then drive up the road and take the 4th right and go down the back of Cherry Court. That’s the correct route!

 

Improve District Info

Sometimes you search for a street and it lists the District as Dublin rather that the area of Dublin, e.g. Tallaght, Shankill, Blanchardstown etc. So the you don’t immediately know whether the street listed is the correct street, or a street with the same name in another part of Dublin. This would mainly be a problem in cases where there are several streets in Dublin with the same name.  When you are unsure about the location that is listed, because it does not provide the actual district info, you then need to select the street from the drop down and look at the map to confirm if it is in the right area of Dublin. This just takes extra time.

Google Maps District Info Issues 2

In this case, the district is listed correctly as “Dundrum”

Google Maps District Info Issues 1

But in this example, instead of the correct district – Dun Laoghaire – this street is just listed as in “Dublin”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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