The all new Google Maps

Google MapsI’m constantly amazed at Google Maps, and really do love the latest version. The only downside (if I’m allowed to complain) is that it’s not quite as fast as the previous iteration, but it is showing a whole lot more.

Firstly it does what you’d expect, it offers a choice of routes (where there are sensible options). However these days, so many people are using Google Maps, that it also offers traffic advice. From experience it’s rather accurate too, a few weeks back it told me the traffic I was stuck in would delay me for 10 minutes – it was spot on, 10 minutes later I was motoring along on a clear road.

Another thing that Google Maps does superbly is diversions. Last time I was driving to Manchester it spotted there was traffic ahead, automatically calculated that leaving the motorway early and going through the country roads would be quicker, sent a spoken message to my smartphone and a single tap of the screen rerouted me.

It’s not just for driving with your smartphone though, log onto Google Maps on a computer and you get even more options. Yesterday I had to go to Bristol and as well as the road journey (1 hour, 10 minutes, but due to traffic it would currently take me 1 hour, 12 minutes), it also shows me the time by bus and the time by train. Click the bus or train route and Google already know what time your next departure is and even calculate my arrival time by working out how long it should take to walk to and from the bus stops.

If you think all that sounds good (or maybe you always use Google Maps and are familiar with it), it doesn’t stop there. Having checked my route (and traffic)on my laptop, as soon as I logged into Google Maps on my smartphone it’s remembered the last route I looked up and already has the postcode in Bristol as my suggested destination. Of course you have to be logged into Google on your computer for this to work, but it beats trying to type in a postcode on a tiny mobile keyboard any day.

Currently there is an option to return to the “Classic” version of Google Maps, but I’ll be keeping the new version.

(By the way, in case anyone’s wondering by I need Google Maps to get to Bristol…. I obviously know the way – straight up the M4! I just wanted to check the street I’ll be parking in).