It has been officially announced.
Last week, a couple screen caps of an apparently upcoming Google Maps redesign leaked. While the authenticity of these was questioned, it seemed likely that they were real. Now, it's pretty much certain than they were, as another leak has sprung ahead of Google I/O.
DroidLife reported on a sign-up page for the new Google Maps leaking last night, and has shared screenshots of that. Luckily for those interested, this includes descriptions of all the new features, so we don't have to wait for Google's keynote today to learn about what it does (assuming this is where they are planning on unveiling it, which seems highly likely).
There are a lot of new features. Here is Google's run down from the leak:
The most comprehensive map, now built for you: The new Google Maps draws you a tailored map for every search and click you make. So whatever you're trying to find or wherever you're trying to go, you'll always have a map highlighting the things that matter most.
Discover more with every search: The new, smarter search box is your starting point for discovery. One search makes all the information you need available at a glance - read up on your destination, see ratings and reviews and sometimes, even take a peek inside.
Dive into your world: From outer space to the streets, the new Google Maps gathers all the imagery of a location into one spot making it easy to explore your world from every angle.
Earth View: The things you love about Google Earth are now directly integrated into the map, so you can see the planet without a plug-in. Or a passport. *Available on WebGL-enabled browsers.
Flight Search: New flight directions help you find flight options, ticket prices, and estimated travel times right on the map.
Find the best way there: You can now compare multiple modes of transportation right on the map to find the best way there and the best way home.
A map that gets better with use: As you search the map, star places you like and leave reviews, the map starts to adapt and can suggest things like restaurants you might enjoy or the quickest way home. In other words, the more you use the new Google Maps, the more helpful it becomes.
It's a pretty big overhaul, and one that seems like it will only make Google's hugely popular maps service all the more useful, though we'll have to wait until people can start using it to truly now how good the revamp is.
It will be interesting to see if any complaints come out from competitors. Don't forget the FairSearch Coalition was formed because of Google's Flight Search feature, and it looks like they're making that a much more prominent part of the Google experience.