Google Maps NavigationSource: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

What you need to know

  • Google is releasing a new Maps widget for Android that allows you to navigate to your favorite destinations directly from your home screen.
  • It also supports dynamic theming on devices running Android 12, while Android 11-based phones only have the blue accent version.
  • The new widget appears to be available as a server-side update, so it may not appear on your device right away.

Google Maps is apparently picking up a new widget on Android that makes it easier to navigate right from your phone's home screen, one month after its iOS counterpart gained a similar capability.

The updated widget offers a number of useful shortcuts for navigating to your favorite destinations. Like the iOS 15 widget for Maps, the Android version offers shortcuts to your home, work, restaurants, and gas stations. Depending on the widget's size, you can add options for grocery stores, coffee shops, hotels, and takeout restaurants.

The new widget was first spotted by a Redditor who goes by the handle u/Mathieu_G_Gagnon. It's part of a new beta update to Maps (v11.3.0), as per XDA Developers, and it's a handy feature to start navigating without having to open the full version of Maps and manually enter a destination.

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Alongside the shortcuts, the widget also adds a search bar at the top to help you quickly find other destinations. It also seems there are only up to eight shortcuts that can be added to the widget if you expand its size.

For Android 12 devices, the widget adheres to the operating system's Material You dynamic theming. On some of the best Android phones that still run Android 11, it retains Maps' blue accent.

Google's latest update highlights the company's push to expand home screen controls for its apps. The search giant recently released new widgets for YouTube Music, Google Keep, and Drive.

The new Maps widget is apparently being rolled out as a server-side update. It's unclear when the update will be available to everyone.

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