Update: The official blog post is up now.
Last week, images of a new Google Maps redesign leaked. Last night, the sign-up page with details about new features leaked. Today, at Google I/O, Google discussed the new offering further.
First, they talked about the next generation of Google Maps for mobile coming to Android and iOS. This involves a new design
It includes a new Zagat experience, with Zagat badges in the interface for restaurants, and some Google Offers integration. If you find Starbucks, for example, you can see an offer from Starbucks, and save it for later or use it. You can take pictures and submit them to Google Maps, and they’ll instantly appear from that place.
There is also a new five point rating scale across Google Maps across mobile and desktop.
As far as directions, some new features were announced: a revamped incident experience (live coverage of incidents from around the world). You can see incident alerts in real time. Another one is dynamic re-routing. If you’re driving, and something happens ahead of you, Google will give you an early warning and give you a better route to take.
Then came a demo of new fully dedicated tablet Maps experience. There’s a new “Explore” experience, and you can find stuff to eat, drink, places to shop, places to play and be entertained, and what have you, if you’re in an unfamiliar place. This is coming to Android and iOS devices (smartphones and tablets) this summer.
Finally, came “the future of Google Maps,” which is more what we were expecting. Thee new google maps is “built for you,” has immersive imagery (which includes Google’s indoor imagery), and makes the map the user interface. It’s been rebuilt from the ground up.
It includes social features, and makes recommendations when you are looking at an area where someone you know has left a review. There is also heavier integration with public transit information and a new schedule viewer, which is dubbed “the future of getting directions”.
Again, here’s a rundown of the basic features from Google’s leaked sign-up page:
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.
Google also announced that there are now one million websites using Google Maps in their sites, visited by a billion people a week.
Google Maps is up to 200 countries, as it recently added North Korea.
— Google Developers (@googledevs) May 15, 2013
I expect a blog post will be going up soon to give you a more comprehensive look at the new Google Maps.
You should be able to go here to request an invite to the preview.