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article imageGoogle Maps gets a design refresh and subtler colour palette

By James Walker     Jul 26, 2016 in Technology
Google has released a major update to Google Maps across all supported devices. The update includes a design refresh that is clearer and easier to see, a new "areas of interest" feature to highlight local attractions and a more balanced colour scheme.
Google introduced the changes in a blog post yesterday. The most immediately noticeable feature of the update is the refined design of the main map view. Google has cleaned up its maps by removing unnecessary elements and making text more legible, creating an app that's easier to use.
Google described highlighting important map information without overcrowding the view as a "balancing act." To give maps more space to breathe, it has removed everything that isn't strictly required. Things like road outlines have been eradicated, reducing the density of information and making it more obvious where pathways are.
Google Maps now has a cleaner design
Google Maps now has a cleaner design
Changes have also been made to the typography. Street names and points of interest are now more visually distinctive and easier to read. District names have been enlarged and are no longer in italics, making them easier to see at a glance without obscuring nearby map attractions.
The colour scheme has been rebalanced around a more subtle palette that has greater distinction between natural and manmade features. Natural elements, such as vegetation and water, occupy the green and blue regions of the palette. Human areas are shaded in red and orange hues. Important places, such as hospitals and schools, now have their own shading so they stand out from other places nearby.
Google Maps now has a cleaner design
Google Maps now has a cleaner design
As part of the update, a new algorithmically-driven feature called Areas of Interest is launching. This emphasises city "hotspots" that are hives of activity, containing several attractions such as hotels, restaurants and shops. Areas of interest are identified by orange-shaded regions on the map. Zooming in to the area will display more details about each venue. Tapping any one will provide more information and actions.
Areas of Interest will be created automatically in places where there is a high concentration of attractions. Google said it will also add a "human touch" in high-density places to ensure it's showing the most active areas, keeping the feature accurate.
The changes will make Google Maps easier to use on mobile devices. With a more legible map that's easier to read on mobile displays and enhanced attraction highlighting, Maps will reveal more information at a glance while using the app to navigate a new city.
"Google Maps already provides you everything you need to get around the world in one place —including business information, ratings and reviews, and more than 100+ million distinct places. And with these updates, it's now even easier to navigate to where you want to go," said Google.
The update should be available now through the App Store and Google Play. The features are also available in the desktop view online. The visual changes to the basic map will apply across all Google Maps viewers, including embedded widgets on websites.
More about Google, Google maps, Smartphones, Mobile, Navigation
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