Google Maps is an amazing tool that has quite literally changed our lives. Even the shortest trips to unknown locations used to be a production that involved searches and routing on Mapquest (or, heaven forbid, on an actual paper map) and then carrying printouts of one’s path to consult while driving. Now, we type a quick search in Google Maps on our phones and go.
Of course, Google is hardly one to rest on its laurels despite having released a product that has had such an impact. The company is constantly adding nifty new features to Maps, and now it’s working on one we cannot wait to get our hands on.
Getting to your destination is one thing, but discovering interesting things about your surroundings is an area where Maps clearly has room to improve. As noted by Android Police on Monday, Google is seemingly testing new features in Google Maps that may do a good job of supplying those improvements.
According to the site, Google is enhancements to its “Explore Nearby” feature that will provide users with information about points of interest close to them at any given point in time. There are plenty of apps that provide similar functionality — Google even makes one called Field Trip — but having a better feature integrated into Google Maps would make it far more useful.
Google Maps already has an Explore Nearby feature, but the updates being tested apparently do a far better job of helping users hone in on a particular category. Google’s new Explore Nearby feature also lets you select a time of day, so if it’s 11:00 p.m. you’ll be able to find nearby bars and lounges instead of libraries and museums, for example.
Unfortunately, there’s no word on when the new enhancements will roll out to all users.