❤ Google Maps testing new colors that look a lot like Apple Maps

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Google Maps is testing an updated color palette for the background map layer that will undoubtedly draw some comparisons to Apple Maps.

The blue for water is much lighter than before (with some hints of green) and draws immediate comparison to Apple Maps. If you live near the ocean, lakes, or rivers, this will be quite noticeable and more vibrant.

 

 

Current | New | Apple Maps

 

 

In the opposite direction, Google is using a darker green (with some blue) for nature areas, like parks, forests, etc. Roads are now gray instead of white and stand out much more as a result. For thematic unity, freeways are a dark gray instead of yellow in another similarity to Apple’s approach.

Yellow/beige is still in use; dedicating that color to busy areas is a good idea. Meanwhile, the dark theme appears unchanged and continues to be darker than Apple Maps.

 

 

 

 

Elsewhere in the UI, directions use a much darker shade of green for the most important information. (It stands out less, in my opinion.)

In isolation, most of the color tweaks aren’t drastic. Combined, however, Google Maps looks quite different from before. The update to water and roads will draw the most comparisons to Apple Maps, with the latter change being pretty impactful in terms of visibility.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Google Maps has a short Material 3 bottom bar but no dynamic color. We’re seeing a handful of reports of this rolling out today on Android, but it’s not widely available on any device we checked. Google might still be in the testing phase and change things before a wider launch.

 

 

 

 

Google Maps no longer lets you tap to hide the search bar and other UI

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, there are times where you effectively need to swipe up twice to hide it. If Explore’s “Latest in [area]” sheet is peaking up from the bottom bar, a swipe will first remove that UI, with another one required for all other UI. However, when location listings are up, you only have to swipe up once.

Related to this change is how tapping anywhere drops a pin immediately now, which might be an intended result and aim.

The tap to hide gesture was ingrained for years in Google Maps and an obvious one. The same cannot be said of the new action, especially given how uncommon a swipe up is (compared to down when removing sheets).

Reports of the tap gesture being removed first emerged in the Google Maps Help forum in February. It might have been in limited testing then and seen a wider launch afterwards. As of today, it’s rolled out on all Android and iOS devices we checked.

Google Maps for Android rolling out much faster voice input powered by Assistant

 

 

 

 

The new Google Maps voice input is powered by Google Assistant. When you first trigger it, a new interface pops up saying that there are “faster ways to search on Maps.”

The new interface pops up in a card that takes up most of the display. There are shortcuts to search for restaurants, gas stations, and similar categories, which does seem a little redundant. But the big perk here is that voice search is much faster and there’s now visual feedback. You’ll see a live display of what you say and recognition is much faster. Commands such as “navigate to” also feel drastically quicker overall in our brief testing.

 

 

 

 

This change appears to be server-side, and is showing up for us on the latest Google Maps for Android version 11.90. It seems to have started rolling out last July 26,2023, as was spotted on Telegram.