Google Maps is getting 3 big upgrades to make your life easier — here’s what’s new

Google Maps app icon on phone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google has announced that it's planning to roll out several new features and updates to Google Maps, some of which are powered by AI-like algorithms.

This is potentially a big deal because millions of people (myself included) use Google Maps every month, so even a minor change will have a big impact. And by the look of them, these changes don't seem so minor. 

These changes were announced today (June 14) but will be rolling out through next month, so you may not see them when you're off on a road trip this weekend.

Immersive View comes to more cities and landmarks

Back at Google I/O 2023 the company confirmed Google Maps is getting a slick new Immersive View for routes that that uses AI-like algorithms to meld scads of images sourced from around the web into a user-navigable 3D rendering of the place. Not just that, but you adjust weather and time of day sliders to get a sense of what it will look like in different conditions, and you can sometimes take advantage of available data to do things like peek inside of restaurants to see the inside.

google i/o 2023

(Image credit: Google via YouTube)

It's a very cool feature, and today Google confirmed it's rolling out Immersive View for four new cities (Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence and Venice) as well as over 500 notable landmarks worldwide. Think places like Prague Castle, or the Eiffel Tower.

Glanceable directions arrive

Now this is something I'm personally very excited about: Google is rolling out a new feature for Google Maps called glanceable directions. It's basically a simplified version of the usual navigation mode that gives you simple directions (where to make your next turn) and your ETA in a very glanceable format. 

You can evidently configure it so that you see a simplified view of the usual route planning interface (think address on top, map in the middle, location at the bottom) but, instead of hitting the "Directions" button and diving into the turn-by-turn guidance screen, glanceable directions keeps the map view up as you move through the route. 

Glanceable directions are also designed to work on your Android or iOS lock screen, which is what I'm especially excited about since I hate having to keep my phone on and unlocked just to use it as a GPS stand-in. 

Recent trips are getting more memorable

Google has been quietly rolling out advanced features (like the Google Chrome Journeys upgrade) for retracing your steps online, and now it's upgrading a similar feature in Google Maps.

Google Maps

(Image credit: Google)

Notably, the "Recents" tab in Google Maps is getting a bit better at remembering the trips you've been considering, as it will now save your Recent trips even after you close your browser.

It's a minor change, but one that may make the feature a lot more usable for folks. I know I personally feel a lot more likely to use such trip-planning features if I'm confident Google will remember what I was planning days, weeks and months later.


These new features look likely to make Google Maps just a bit nicer and more enjoyable to use, which is promising for Maps heads like me. 

While I'm excited to mess around with the new AI-powered Immersive Views (I just got back from Amsterdam and would love to see how it compares to being there in person), glanceable directions seem like the most useful new feature coming to Google Maps. Will they keep me from missing that one exit I always speed by on my way up the I-5? Only time will tell!

More from Tom's Guide

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. 

  • sycoreaper
    A truly useful feature would be to just merge Waze and Maps already. Google owns both and each have their pros and cons.

    The thing I really want in Waze are the stop signs and lights. And if everyone is using one app, traffic and reports will be that much better and reliable.