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Google Maps quietly added a space feature that ‘Star Wars’ fans will love

Published Dec 30th, 2019 8:07PM EST
Google Maps
Image: Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

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As far as I’m concerned, Google Maps no longer provides merely a superior navigation experience compared to other maps applications out there. I’ve also found myself increasingly using it for all sorts of non-maps uses, such as calling up the phone number of a business and dialing from right within the app; scoping out images of a restaurant’s top dishes; checking reviews of a business; and lots more.

Meanwhile, Google Maps is arguably so far ahead of many of its rivals that it’s also got time to roll out totally useless new features — but features that are fun, nevertheless, and even a bit whimsical. One such addition was spotted in recent days by an eagle-eyed Redditor and will no doubt be appreciated by fans of Star Wars.

In short: When you’re in Google Maps on the web, there’s now a Star Wars-like “hyperspace” animation that appears whenever you switch between planets, similar to whenever spacecraft in the beloved pop culture franchise make the jump to light speed.

New animation when switching between Planets in Google Maps: from google

In order to try it out, open Google Maps on the web and then zoom out as far as you can. Over in the bottom right, tap the globe option and then switch to satellite view. Scroll out just a little more, and then at that point, you should see a menu with different planets appear on the left side of the screen. Tap one of those, and a full-screen hyperspace animation will appear before showing you your destination.

It’s not totally clear when this feature was added, but because it’s almost an identical representation of the way it looks when crafts jump to lightspeed in Star Wars, the feature may have been added in tandem with the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. As we said, this is just a fun extra feature that continues to round out the experience of using Google Maps — which, by the way, added the exploration of other planets two years ago around the same time as it made it possible to use Street View to check out the International Space Station.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.