Google could be getting ready to unleash a massive redesign for one of its most beloved products - Google Maps. While reports are unconfirmed, it's looking like the company may soon implement some major changes.
Do you think Google Maps needs a redesign or should they leave it how it is? Let us know what you think in the comments.
The news comes from Alex Chitu at Google Operating System, who has shared a couple of screenshots of what he says is the new Google Maps interface. It's no small redesign:
Chitu hints that we could see the new look unveiled at Google I/O next week. Google does apparently have a three-hour keynote lined up - plenty of time to unveil a plethora of things, including spending some time walking people through any new features that might be included. We can only wait and see if this is the case.
People are skeptical of the authenticity of the screen shots, and with good reason. It is such a major overhaul, and there only appears to be one main source of the information (Chitu thanks a Florian K.).
However, Chitu has a pretty credible track record of Google coverage, and is always conscientious to point out when new Google features are simply tests. His post makes him seem pretty confident that this is the real deal.
Also, since his initial post, he points out that Google already has this Maps Engine Lite app available, which he notes "has a lot in common" with the alleged new Google Maps. "Full-screen map, interface elements overlaid on top of the map, the same search box and zoom buttons. It's consistent with the new Google Maps interface," he writes. Google Maps Engine Lite was announced back in March. Chitu suggests that it will replace the "My Maps" feature.
Chris Velazco at TechCrunch makes a couple of good points, like for one, that the design seems to fall in line with other Google products of late - the "cards" look in particular. Also, Google has had a history of recent product leaks. Remember the Chromebook Pixel leak? How about the Google Play rededesign leak? Or the Google Now for iOS video that came out early? Hell, they even leaked their earnings report early once.
In other words, it seems very possible that this is indeed real. In fact, I'd say it's looking quite likely at this point (though I refuse to commit 100% until it's unveiled).
The real question (outside of the obvious: is this real?) is: will people like the new interface? As I said, this is probably one of Google's most beloved products. We saw how iPhone users reacted to the lack of Google Maps when iOS 6 came out without it.
With any major redesign, there are always going to be some who don't approve, but with a major Google product like this, the backlash could be gargantuan if it doesn't go over well. On the other hand, people could love it.
So far, according to The Atlantic, everybody hates it. We should probably at least wait until we have the chance to use it before being too critical though, no?
What are your initial impressions. Share your thoughts here.