Google Maps beta adds news features, including Android O's picture-in-picture support

Android 8.0 is set to release anytime soon, and Google has been hard at work getting its own applications ready to take advantage of the new system APIs. Picture-in-Picture, originally available in Android 7.0 Nougat for Android TV users, will be available for phone and tablet users after the launch of Android O.

To take advantage of this, the latest beta version of the Google Maps app is adding support for picture-in-picture. I don't think this will be advantageous on most smartphones, but it will be a good feature for larger screened phones and LTE-connected tablets. Android Police notes that the feature is currently buggy, but that's beta software for you.

Also along for the ride is the ability for the application to log monthly driving statistics such as average speed, total distance and time spent in traffic. My brother drives hundreds of miles a day for his job, so this will be a nice feature for users like him that need to get compensated for their mileage. There are already third party applications to do this, but adding the feature to Maps means one less application to worry about.

One last piece to prepare for Android O is support for more notification channels. The Maps application already supports this feature, but this beta adds the ability to move some navigation notifications into their own channel. One channel is for when the application is in the foreground and another channel for when navigation is running in the background. Google did not provide a timeline to expect these features to be added to the stable version of the application, but we will report back when that happens.

If you're not already a Google Maps beta tester, you can sign up for it very easily!

Do you think you'll use the new features? Let us know in the comments below!

Tom Westrick