Google Maps Apps Get New 'Explore' Feature

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Google announced that it has added a new Explore button to the Google Maps app on Android and iOS, giving users a better way to discover places of interest that are nearby.

There was already a "Nearby" feature, but now there's a button, which makes it easier to find places to go, and it takes more than just your location into account.

"Now, whenever you want to discover places in your area, simply tap the new Explore button at the bottom right corner of your map to get a quick look at what’s nearby (where available)," explains Google Maps product manager Taj Campbell. "With Explore as your guide, you’ll see different places and activities that adapt to each area and moment throughout your day. This also works when you’re browsing other neighborhoods and cities on the map so you can plan your day’s outing or daydream about your next vacation."

"The results you get in Explore not only tell you what’s nearby—and you can decide if 'nearby' means a five-minute walk or a 20-minute drive—but they actually change based on context like the time of day and the weather, too," adds Campbell. "So don’t worry about wandering over to a breakfast spot for dinner, or arriving at the park just in time for a thunderstorm. You’ll get best results when you’re signed in with location reporting and history turned on."

This should be handy if it actually works. How often is the weather information you're presented with day to day completely accurate?

When you're at the location you choose, the Android version of the app lets you tap on the "My Location" button at the bottom right or on the blue dot on the map to bring up additional info, such as reviews or transit schedules. It also lets you save the place for later.

Google says your location experience will improve as you confirm places you visit.

The new functionality comes just as Foursquare is preparing to roll out its new experience, which places focus on local search and place discovery, handing check-ins off to its new Swarm app.

Competition between Google and Yelp continues to get more heated as well. The latter recently became an official complainant in an antitrust investigation into Google's business practices, and opened up its API to all developers paving the way for Yelp data to be discovered in any app or website that cares to use it.

Images via Google, Foursquare

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.