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It’s been a busy week for the Google Maps team. As we reported earlier today, the Google Maps apps are getting a Wi-Fi-only mode and the team is also bringing more crowdsourcing tools to the mobile apps. The company kept the biggest announcement for today, though: Google Maps on iOS, Android and the web is getting a new and cleaner look with a more subtle color scheme. The idea behind the new look for the maps is to remove clutter. As Google notes, the team removed road outlines, for example, and also improved the typography on the maps so it’s easier to read street names, points of interest and transit stations. At the same time, the team also decided to try a new way of showing local information on the map. When you zoom in to a city now, you’ll likely see a few areas that are shaded in orange. These are “areas of interest” that feature a large number of hotels, restaurants, music venues or other points of interest. View the full article
Cellular data can be expensive and Wi-Fi is often free. Thankfully it seems Google Maps will soon work on just Wi-Fi. Google has yet to announce this option. Users are reporting the additional mode is found in the settings of Google Maps and replaces the “Offline areas” option. Once activated, Google Maps will load the majority of the data through Wi-Fi signals, though, as a warning notifies users, a small amount of cellular data might still be consumed. Without an official announcement from Google, it’s unclear how this new option is different from the app’s offline area mode — though one can hope that the new option is superior. With a constant cellular connection, Google Maps is fantastic. But when data is not available, the app falters. Other mapping apps better handle this situation. View the full article