Google is adding a brand new way find out more about your surroundings in Google Maps with a new "Explore" feature. In the bottom right corner of the latest Google Maps app, you'll now notice a small location pin button next to the location button — tap it, and you'll be taken into the new Explore interface with information tailored to your location.
By default you'll see what's going on within a 5 minute walk and is relevant to the time of day and even the weather. You'll see events, restaurants, sightseeing locations, public transit information and more, powered by information from Zagat, your Google+ circles and of course Google's vast knowledge of local information. It's all very similar to what you'd expect to see from Google Now, but more on-demand based on when you hit the Explore button.
When using the Explore button at your current location you'll have the option to change how much you want to see based on how far you want to travel — 5, 10, 15 minute walk, or 10, 20 minute drive — and can manually set the time of day you want to see information for, if you wish. If you choose to move over to a different area of the map, use the same Explore button to see what's going on in that part of the world — Maps will show you how long it'll take to get there, and give you information based on the time of day you choose.
Now when you hit the location button now and Google Maps locks onto your location as a specific place, it'll show the name of the place — connecting the location and Explore buttons — where you can tap to reveal quick information on that place. Whether it's a public market, park or landmark, Google Maps will offer up things it thinks are relevant to that specific spot.
The Explore button should be rolling out to everyone this week, and doesn't require a new version of the Google Maps app. Be on the latest version (updated July 21st at time of writing), and you should see the button appear in the bottom right corner of your maps interface.
Source: Google Maps Blog
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