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Navigating through the new Google Maps 8.0 interface

Drastic improvements to navigation and search interface highlight app overhaul

Google today unveiled a pretty great refresh to the Google Maps app today, bringing vast improvements to the navigation experience and usability across the board. For once Google has also included a proper changelog with the update, giving us a peek at what's actually new in this update. Beyond that, though, we've found quite a few new additions to Google Maps that are big time- and frustration-savers.

The changes start with navigation but certainly don't end there — the new version of Google Maps makes it easier to search and find places with new filters, get public transit directions with more accurate times and search abilities, save and manage maps for offline use, and keep up with all of the places you've been and need to review.

This is a big step for Google Maps, and we're going to walk you through all of the big (and small) features of this update.

Navigation - Lane guidance, ETA and route switching

Lane guidance

Route Switching

Step-by-step Route

As we noted before, one of the biggest changes in version 8.0 of Google Maps is the navigation experience. It's been a few versions since we had anything notable to say about the navigation in Maps, and we're glad to see a visual and feature refresh here. Navigation mode has a new layout, with the bottom bar now showing distance, travel time and ETA in one area. Tapping the bottom bar toggles your step-by-step directions quickly, and hitting the double arrow button in the bottom right corner zooms out to show you multiple routes.

At any time during navigation you can now tap a different route to quickly change your course, whether that's from the main interface or from the zoomed-out multi-route view. As you're going along your route small boxes will pop up to show the current time of that trip, giving you more information to decide whether or not your route needs to change.

Reporting wrong lane

Extra options

Request Uber

When you do pick your route, Maps will now show so-called "lane guidance," which shows in the upper-left corner of the interface which lane you should be in to make the next turn or exit before you get there. It shows how many lanes are on the road, which you'll need and how you'll be turning from that lane. Lane guidance isn't available everywhere, and if you tap on the lane information you can report issues with that lane guidance.

If you tend to use public transit or walking more than driving, you'll be glad to know that those options have been improved as well. While the same "depart at" and "arrive by" times are still here, Google says they've been improved. (And don't forget the "Last available transit" option!) When searching for transit or walking directions, you'll also now see an option to call an Uber car if you have that app installed, and have Maps launch you to the Uber app.

​Main interface - Better saved maps, 'Places to review' and search filters

'Save Maps' Interface

Places to Review

Search Filters

There's so much more Google Maps is capable of outside of just navigation, and version 8.0 of the app hasn't left it all behind. Offline map support is being beefed up in this release, making it easier to select a larger area and manage your different maps. From the main interface, hit the profile button on the far right edge of the search box and scroll down to "Offline maps" — you can then view and manage your offline maps, including downloading large areas. They expire after 30 days on your device (at which time you can just re-download them), but it's super useful to cache a large map area before heading out on a trip.

Back to the profile screen, you'll also now see a "Places to review" option at the top where you can tap to view places you've been recently and submit reviews if you forgot to at the time. When searching for new places, such as bars or grocery stores (the essentials), you can now apply search filters by price, rating or hours — you can even narrow places down by whether or not people in your circles have been there.

There's a lot to digest in this bump to version 8.0 in Google Maps, but there's something for everyone in this release. Get to familiarizing yourself with the latest Google Maps update from the Play Store link at the top of this post.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • If I hit the Search box on the left side, I will get the screen that lets me scroll down to where it says "Save map to use offline"..
  • Yup, but the other way lets you save, and also manage, maps.
  • This seems like a great update. Can't wait to try it. So glad they finally brought back all of the offline map functionality. That was one of my favorite features! Posted via Android Central App
  • They still have not fixed using contacts address and going straight to Navigation. Instead you have to go through other steps to start navigation. Hello Google, fix it. That is a major reason to have a Garmin as back up GPS.
  • Doing that assumes that when you look up a person (or an address) you immediately want to navigate to it. Maybe a person doesn't actually want to do that, much like when they search for an address in Maps they may not want to immediately navigate to it.
  • In addition to Merk42's points, how would using a Garmin be any faster? I'd think it'd be slower. You'd have to manually type in the address. If you save the address in your Garmin, you can do the same in Google Maps with starring a location.
  • What you have is the option to do is to open Contacts/People, tap the address and it will auto open a map of the location. You can then decide to navigate there or not. What I would love is to tell Google Now to "Navigate to Tom's house" and it would do it. Currently, only Home and Work locations function this way. I don't see why other contacts with addresses can't work the same way.
  • Yeah I tried the other day to say go to Beth's house, and it just kept bringing up search results. I even went into Contacts, verified I had her address saved in her contact entry. But maps wouldn't launch when I would say Go To.... Would make sense that if I have a google contact saved with an address, then it should be able to launch the Maps / Navigation to the address saved in the contact.
  • Most modern Garmins accept voice commands. I can literally say "Navigate to 1250 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134" in one sentence in my normal voice and speaking cadence an the garmin will take me there. Works the same in the latest maps app.
    The difference is that the Garmin doesn't need a data plan and works in the middle of nowhere.
  • another small difference... the Garmin requires an additional couple hundred dollars of hardware... and is usually left in the car all the time, so it is useless whenever you aren't in your own car. But the good news is that there is OsmAnd (free and paid version for about 6 bucks) that you can download and keep area maps stored on the phone. And then you've got GPS, without needing data connection, in the middle of nowhere, without wasting hundreds of dollars, and is avialble on the device that's always in your pocket, which can be used for hundreds of other purposes too.
  • There used to be a "Navigate" separate App which would take you directly to it but they "merged" it back into one App - Maps.
  • This. I miss the old navigate app from Google. No matter how they update it I still don't like it. Posted via Android Central App
  • For me, the old navigator gave better directions and more alternate routes. It is kind of a pain getting used to the new version, especially since it keeps changing. Posted via Android Central App
  • I agree, which is why I'm still using the old Maps with the dedicated Navigation button. I've never understood why they changed things even though my wife keeps trying to explain it to me.....
  • Hi Guys I guess this is what you are looking for :) Its a small attempt by me and my friend. Hope you like it. Please do provide feedback.
  • What are you talking about? Works for me.
  • I had the same issue when the Navigation icon disappeared after an update to Google Maps. I have found that a program available from the Google Play Store called Nav Launcher fixed these issues. I now have a Navigation icon and Nav Launcher also allows you to designate Favorites for addresses that you may navigate to often, Home, access Contacts and also access History. It's like the good old Navigation icon on steroids...much recommended!
  • I can't to get the update! :) Posted via Android Central App
  • Now Android Central has switched from Nexus 5 to Oneplus One when showing new features from Google. Posted via Android Central App
  • Google Maps runs on basically any Android phone, and the OnePlus One is the phone I'm using. We show off Google apps on non-Nexus devices all the time, what's the deal here?
  • I think he was trying to imply you're marketing that specific phone because you're getting paid to do it. Which we know isn't true. Posted via Android Central App
  • And today is Tuesday. And the sky is blue. Do you have a point? ಠ益ಠ
  • Don't feed the trolls.
  • Interesting, I haven't received the updated app yet, but while I was navigating earlier today, I got a verbal prompting that told me to take a turn "from the two left lanes". I had never before heard Maps indicate how many turning lanes there were. I'm assuming this was part of whatever backend changes they implemented. Now I just have to get my hands on the new app so that I can see the change visually.
  • Need to bring back zoom buttons. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yes!!
    Posted via Android Central App
    That's why I'm still using the old version, 6 . something
  • This app almost never let's me down. Posted via Android Central App
  • I know it is just wishful thinking but I would like some of the better features from Waze to be incorporated with Google Maps, especially the ability to send live updates of my travel to someone else.
  • i thought this was already an option in maps. is it not? I dont use it but i could have sworn i saw that option somewhere
  • I use Glympse for this, usually in tandem with Maps. Would be nice to have it integrated, though.
  • I fully agree, waze should be an add on on maps, so that it is integrated into one system Posted via Android Central App
  • Play Store still shows 7.7.0 as the latest version available in my country. :/
  • As expected, no MyMaps support. Gone forever. Why they would get rid of this super useful function is beyond comprehension. The ability to pre-plan a travel route on your PC and be able to access it on your phone was the best feature of the old Maps. And please don't mention Maps Engine. It may be called an engine...but it's a 2 HP one at best.
  • This seems like a step in the right direction, but it still doesn't have the ability to import custom routes from the desktop version. Also, it can't save a preprogrammed route for offline use. I'm going to be driving from Pennsylvania to Eastern Maine next month, and I'm not sure what Verizon's coverage is up there. I would like to be able to save the trip route and ONLY the immediate area along the way in case I lose the signal. Says map area is too large, so I'm still stuck having to borrow a standard GPS to keep as a backup.
  • Take a look at Locus Pro. Your custom maps can be exported as a KML, say to Dropbox. Locus can import your KML, along with any waypoints you added, directly from Dropbox and overlay them on Google (tiled), Bing, Yahoo, Open Streets, dozens of them. You can download just the section of the map along your route and adjust how many miles on each side to include. Plus it has dozens of other great features. Sorry Google for plugging another product in your forum, but when you don't step up to the plate, others will.
  • You should be fine. You probably won't have super fast service in eastern Maine, but I had sufficient signal with Verizon to use Google Maps navigation up in the Millinocket/Lincoln area a few years ago.
  • I go to eastern Maine every summer (up 95 to Bar Harbor) and have Verizon. Used to have issues but there are no problems on the mainland. If you go to Mount Desseret most areas are good but some spotty areas in Acadia National Park. Posted via Android Central App
  • Forgot to add that it was 4g most of the way. Posted via Android Central App
  • so is the review feature new? sorry only use maps for actual navigation
  • You've been able to review places for ages.
  • yes, but through Google maps only for months. Maybe 2 years?! i'd be surprised if it's been 3.
  • I haven't been prompted for the update yet. Posted via Android Central App
  • I still wish this had true offline functionality. I'd love to be able to download the map of an area and use my N7 as a GPS, but without a network connection it can't calculate the route.
  • ^^ Posted via Android Central App
  • +all of it.
    It's pathetic GPS's are still using some windows crap over Android. also such crappy screens with such crappy touch sensibility.
  • Nexus 7 has a gps radio on it. I've routed a place on wifi then when my wifi was no longer available it still was able to track me and I navigated the 30 minute drive with my nexus 7 with no Internet. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yeah I've done that too. But he's got a point. If you don't have WiFi at the time, even though there is GPS, it won't calculate a route. So I think he's saying download a map and be able to calculate routes and what not offline withing the downloaded area. Posted via Android Central App
  • Aren't you screwed if you go off the route or will the GPS pick it back up? Posted via Android Central App
  • You're screwed. But if you stay on the route you started with the Internet connection you can navigate as far as you like with no connection Posted via Android Central App
  • Andrew how come you were able to update it on a OnePlus, and my Nexus 4 doesn't have the update yet?
  • It's being rolled out slowly most likely. Another popular Android site has the apk if you want to install it now.
  • They're still missing something they used to have and was SUPER useful: Multiple destinations and the freakin' scale marker and/or the distance measurement. Oh, and also, if you're in a foreign country (like me) but prefer English to the local language (like me), directions are only read out loud with the street names stripped from the dialog. Again, two or three updates ago, the app would read out the street names, albeit with a funny pronunciation.
  • I wonder if this reduces the load in phones while using navigation. My HTC One X gets abnormally hot to the point where the battery drains while plugged in and eventually dies. Posted via Android Central App
  • My Moto X got hotter during navigation after the update, unfortunately. Hoping this was just a fluke because it got _really_ hot!
  • I have a new M8 and my google play store doesn't seem to have the maps updated to 8.0. Anyone else running into this issue?
  • Not a issue at all. It's a staggered rollout. Posted via Android Central App
  • sorry to link to another site but XDA has the apk up for those impatient people, like myself, who haven't gotten the update yet. about to sideload it now. link below.
  • Thanks - installed and working fine.
  • Sorry, but until they bring back 'search along route' these updates are still x.x.x to me... Honestly, if you're navigating and need to find a gas station, how do you do it?
  • Pan the map to an area along your route, type search terms into the box, tap search.
  • You can't search while navigating... That's what I'm saying... You used to be able to hit the ellipsis and search... Now, you have too exit your route and start a new search. Not good
  • I totally agree. I've had search results show for several hundred miles away when I search for a coffee shop or fuel station. It still bugs me they don't show current road speed limit, or why traffic information is only available in a zoomed out view.
  • Yes yes and yes. I believe they also used to show traffic zoomed in while navigation. Because you used to be able to select your layers when navigating I think. Posted via Android Central App
  • This was always my problem and the reason I would use maps instead of navigation. This is no longer the case with the update. Traffic is showing with the navigation. Much better now.
  • Yes, it seems I was too quick to criticize. Traffic while actually navigating is so useful. And having all the info at the bottom at once instead of cycling through it. Quite a few of my gripes have been addressed.
  • This is the main reason I am still using the old version 6.14. Without "search along route" functionality, GMaps is *almost* useless to me. No one wants to search for a gas station, restaurant, etc. on your way to your destination without having exit navigation to do it??? Posted via Android Central App
  • Got the update on my iPhone but not showing up on my Moto X.
  • I'm unable to get any of these apps for some strange reason. NO UPDATES FROM GOOGLE!!!!!!!
  • "Offline maps... They expire after 30 days on your device" What? Why?
  • Because things CHANGE over time. The map would no longer be accurate.
  • Major changes to road layout take longer than 30 days to become active. Why not have my offline data checked and update every month if necessary instead of deleting it?
  • i was hoping to finally be able to update from maps 6.14 until i read this.
  • I would really like the Zoom -/+ options to add it back to my screen and I also wish, like how it used to be years ago, I could type a name of someone from my contact list in Google Maps search and it would auto populate with their address and I could search it. It used to do this a long time ago and I have missed it ever since.
  • Double touch the screen and you zoom in, Click on resume to unzoom. Pinch/grab also zoom/unzoom. Don't really need more clutter on the screen.
  • Easier said than done while driving. +/- In the lower right corner is perfect. Posted via Android Central App
  • I used the navigation feature last weekend without knowing the interface was new. Once I figured it out, I could see that it was powerful, but I'm beginning to notice in Google apps (on Android at least) away from self-explanitory interfaces - with all of your options accessed by on-screen widgets, menus or long-press option lists - to minimalist interfaces that almost require someone to show you how to use them. There's a benefit here in terms of reduced screen clutter and fewer taps to accomplish something, but it's not very user-friendly. Likewise, try to figure out how to bring up contact details from the dialer - or add a new contact. It's very confusing. Really easy to dial the phone, but if you want to do anything else, you're better off going to the contacts app - because what you used to be able to access easily from the phone app is very non-intuitive to get to now. Finally - and this really burns me up. I accidentally deleted my entire camera folder from the gallery by trying to delete the picture that was being used as a thumbnail for that folder. (I had already deleted the picture after I took it, but somehow it was still the thumbnail, which confused me). In any case, hitting delete on the folder didn't bring up any big warnings that would have made me think twice. I think there was a 'delete this item?' dialog, but no "do you really want to delete this folder and all of its contents". It was a stupid mistake on my part, but an easy one to make that Google made all the easier in the service of a non-cluttered experience. IMHO, that sucks. Especially if they're going to make big changes to the UI as often as they have.
  • Used it for most of today. The blue line is very thick....and what's with the brown/orange sections? Slower speeds? If so, where's the speed limit indicators? Also, the traffic overlay is hard to see. Lastly, the bottom and top take up so much space on the Moto X's reasonably small screen. It's nice, but needs work, IMO. Also, I wish Google Maps would add the ability for users to issue their own specific set of intersection instructions. For example, there is an intersection by my house that's 4 lanes wide. Two of those lanes are exit only, the second from the left one is a straight only, but ends shortly after you pass through the light. Basically, if you want to go straight on the continuing road, you need to be in the left lane to avoid the needed merge. It would be helpful to program that particular intersection with crowd-sourced instructions that no automated satellite imagery shows. Like a prompt that says "stay in the far left lane" if your route is programmed to go through that intersection. Also, there are no left turns permitted in said intersection so the far left lane is the only logical lane to be in if you are passing through the intersection.
  • If you click on the intersection icon you'll get an option to report a problem with the lane guidance. Not quite the do it yourself, but you can report it and Google will hopefully integrate into future update.
  • Did you ever figure out what the blue and orange sections mean? From the route it created for me, it cannot mean slower speeds.
  • I just used the updated Maps for my commute home. There was a MASSIVE backup on my normal way home and it notified me before I left work. So I took the recommended alternate route and it worked! Traffic wasn't as bad. Also, as you are using Navigation Screen.. When you click on the little bubble that tells you the how long the alternate route will take (See picture) it will automatically switch to that route! Now that's cool/convenient.
  • I hope they updated the search function. The last couple updates the search function went downhill. When I search for places that has multiple locations like gas stations or McDonald's only a very few pop up. When I switch to my browser and search through I get a large amount of locations from the Google maps browser results.
  • But can I make "Avoid Toll Rolls" a permanent preference?
  • Just checked. I have the May 6 version of Maps and "Avoid Toll Roads" is still not available as a default. Very disappointing.
  • That's crazy! This one of the reasons I'm still using the old 6.14 version. Posted via Android Central App
  • So the offline maps is only offline for 30days, come on I don't want to have to redownload my maps every month Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)
  • Hopefully when im using the Gps feature I don't get knocked out of it when a phone call comes in.
  • Not got that update yet???
  • Sounds like offline mode is only slightly less feeble, I didn't know they timed out but that explains why they keep disappearing, I just won't bother anymore, I'll use a proper offline navigation app instead.
  • I haven't received the update yet either. Hopefully it's coming soon because it's one of my favorite apps ☺ Posted Via AT&T Galaxy Note 3
  • Excellent upgrade to the app. Mine didn't have the update ready so I just got the apk from XDA.
  • Public transportation improvements....FINALLY!!! Hopefully among the improvements is a fix that won't take me down a road with no sidewalks or bike lanes anymore!! There's a lot of these around here, and not knowing the area well enough to know I have to find another way around until it's too late can be really dangerous. Also, I hope there's a fix that will take hills into account when planning a route. Pro tip: Biking 2 miles uphill the whole way is NOT a better route than biking 4 miles across flat land!!
  • LOVE Google Nav/Maps. I drive through Atlanta often, and many times at afternoon traffic hour (why they call it "rush hour" there, I'll never know) and I use it every time. I love how it shows me traffic problems and can reroute me. It has literally saved me hours of drive (or sitting!) time. Looking forward to checking out the new features, particularly the reroutes as many times I had to do that more manually.
  • I truly hope Google brings back "search along route" functionality! I depend on that feature daily so I've had to keep using the older 6.14 version which included that priceless feature. Posted via Android Central App
  • I do not see this on the UK accessible version of the Play Store. Do you have any information about the roll out to EU locations? I have used Google maps for navigation a lot over the last 3 years and it keeps improving. Hardware limitations in the GPS receivers and poor data connection in some areas cause problems; so it can get lost. I wish we had the option to download a full UK map onto the phone; I would probably pay for that level of service. Dedicated units like TomTom with preloaded maps are more reliable and have better GPS pickups, but you have to keep it in the car and it only does one job. Awesome A C
  • It's a pretty nice upgrade. Side-loaded, and it works on 4.3. Unfortunately you still can't rename a dropped pin within the app....
  • Only reason it was green because at least here I am the states road signs were green Posted via Android Central App on the HTC One M8
  • After 30 days offline will it update automatically (while wifi is available) or at least tell me to update the map? Old map is better then nothing and lost.
  • So far this is all about navigation. That's good. What about PEG MAN? Did that come back so that I can slide it down the street 3 blocks to where I want to go and see it with one screen refresh , or am I still stuck with the painfully slow directional arrows that move me 1 foot each tap in the direction I want to go while waiting for 10 second screen refreshes for each tap? What a step backwards that is.
  • Mine just updated today and I don't see but a few things that you're talking about that it's supposed to offer. Then again, I left Google Maps quite awhile ago for Waze. Yes, I know Google bought them, but it's still a much better program for me.
  • LOL a lot of complaining for a free service that basically revolutionized smart phone maps and navigation.
  • The offline maps feature is next to useless. You can't search for an address or POI's, or use navigation. You can see where you are, and move the map around, but that's it. Google really needs to implement a useful offline capability. I love the app, but this is a huge weakness.
  • Love the new update. Posted via Android Central App
  • Before the update, when I was coming up on a turn I am supposed to take, or an exit off the freeway, it would say, "Turn left on Broadway" or "Take exit 158B towards Mesa" or something like that. Now, it just says, "Turn left" or "Turn right". Same thing when you're within 2 miles of a route would say, "In two miles, take exit ### towards ...." and now, its just, "In two miles, turn right". I am not sure if this is just the way it works now, or if it can be changed. It was very helpful knowing the name of the streets or which exit I am supposed to take since most of the time I have no clue where I am going, haha. I am currently using the M8 on Verizon with high accuracy for GPS turned on. Thanks!
  • I am ready to try this out.
  • My phone has a 1080p display, even though it's the 6.4" Xperia Z Ultra the detail on the map is too small to see when I am driving.
    Zooming in on the map simply shows more detail.
    Is there a way to get g maps to enlarge the size of fonts and objects the screen?
  • Is the 3-D navigation no longer available or am I overlooking it somewhere? I only can get top/map view.
  • As you go further into review of the new google maps, could you possibly compare its performance across the older android versions offered on virtual mobile network providers' devices (METROPCS, BOOST, CRICKET, etc). Navigation app for the past 4 months has been awful on my two different devices, and two different networks. It was much better 2 years ago. For example, I can't get it to reroute if I accidentally turn on the wrong street. Also, the map gets stuck. Given the marketshare of these providers, I think it may be something worth looking in to.
  • Does anyone else have a problem with overpasses and roads that cross over each other? My google maps will reroute thinking I am on the road below or above. Also if I am too near another road it will think i am on that road and reroute. I am using a galaxy S5 with high accuracy mode
  • Google, get it together for once. We need  automated speed enforcement NOW. WHEN THE SPECS LIMIT CHANGES WE GET A WARNING ALERT BEFORE HAND. This way we can keep our eyes on the road more an for those constantly changing zones. This is the best feature a navigation program could offer. Also add overlay weather information. I am not sure what you spoiled google employees are thinking but it's not making your app any safer. A nice back up cam an a lane awareness adapter also is a great ideal. Stop with these features that make you look at your phone more BUT LOOK LESS.
  • I don't see the various alternative routes when I hit "Double Arrow" in the bottom bar, but just ONE, which I know there are more AND I DO take THAT "Not-showing" route most of the day to home... It seems less informative after the latest update, that I don't hear "Faster Route is now available" like before...
    I wish there is a way to modify the bottom bar display options, i.e. font sizes/colors, more various display categories (speed, how long estimated time until next turn, etc...)...
    Also, Live traffic report notification... so I can avoid the area... Waze gave me those, but too many advertisement pops up while driving, which made me nuts! :(
    I've been searching and trying other GPS Navigation apps (MapFactor, Maverick, Sygic), but I haven't found any that meets my preference... Especially my Motorola Droid Ultra doesn't have saving offline maps in externally, saving maps internally eats up huge space... mmm... :(
  • Please tell me how to do a new direction search. After completing all the navigation instructions to get to my destination I would like to immediately search for a new route somewhere else and i cannot figure out how to get the little direction icon that looks like a arrow with a 90 degree bend to show up. It is making me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Does anybody know of a notification option? Or maybe even a modal popup window app that will show turn by turn even when you are exited out of the application (like NextSong)? For example, on ios maps, there is a little notification that comes down from the top saying "turn left at Smith Rd." which is helpful if you want to be using another app while navigating...
  • Does anybody know of a notification option? Or maybe even a modal popup window app that will show turn by turn even when you are exited out of the application (like NextSong)? For example, on ios maps, there is a little notification that comes down from the top saying "turn left at Smith Rd." which is helpful if you want to be using another app while navigating...