Google Maps Rolls Out Redesigned Interface on Android: What’s New?

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Key Takeaways

  • The new update of Google Maps on Android is expected to replace full-screen UIs, allowing continuous visibility of the map for better navigation.
  • Redesigned search fields and transport options placement improve user interaction and accessibility.
  • The redesign is under limited testing, indicating an imminent broader release.

The major redesign of Google Maps, first seen in February, is now re-emerging on some Android devices with added refinements, suggesting a possible wide release soon.

In February, Google announced a major update to the user interface (UI) design in the Android version of Google Maps. This update introduced a new look, allowing users to see more of the map in the background as they navigated. The aim was to keep at least part of the map visible at all times within the app. However, Google quickly withdrew the redesign shortly after its release.

With added enhancements, this redesign is now reappearing on devices, suggesting that a more extensive rollout might be on the horizon.

Key Features of the New Redesign

As reported by 9to5Google, the latest update of Google Maps on Android will significantly shift from full-screen user interfaces to a more streamlined, sheet-based design. This adjustment improves user interaction by keeping important map details visible while accessing other app features.

Key enhancements include:

  • Sheet-based Interface: This replaces the old full-screen interfaces, allowing users to see and interact with the map simultaneously without switching between screens.
  • Preservation of Background Context: This feature improves spatial awareness by keeping the map visible even when using different app functions, which is key for effective navigation.
  • Easy Closure of Interface Sheets: Users can easily close the interface sheets by tapping a marked close button next to the share icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
Google Maps redesign | Source:
Google Maps redesign | Source:
  • Redesigned Search Fields for Directions: Changes have been made to how users input destinations:
  • Improved Placement of Transport Options: Options for driving, public transit, walking, ride-hailing, and cycling have been moved to the bottom of the screen, making them easier to reach and improving usability, especially on larger devices.
Google Maps redesign | Source:
Google Maps redesign | Source:
  • Enhanced Information Display: The new design shows more information on the screen at once, reducing the need to scroll and making it easier to see details quickly.

These changes aim to enhance the app’s functionality by making tools more accessible and information easier to read. The redesign looks better and includes practical improvements that simplify how users interact with the app.

By adjusting the placement of key elements and refining the layout, Google Maps seeks to support quicker and more efficient interactions, thus improving the app’s usefulness in daily scenarios.

Current Testing and Availability

Key info about the current testing and availability of this version (version 11.127.x) include:

  • Controlled Testing Phase: The redesign is not widely available yet, as it’s currently being tested on a limited scale to ensure stability and usability.
  • Server-Side Update: The update does not need to be downloaded; instead, it’s pushed directly to users from the server, which allows Google to manage the distribution and activation seamlessly across different regions and user groups.
  • Limited Account Visibility: The redesigned Google Maps has been spotted on only a small number of accounts. This selective visibility is typical of Google’s phased testing strategy, which aims to refine features with real-world user data before a full launch.

My Nord Plus 2 running Android 13 does not have this variant of Google Maps yet and runs version 11.126.0103. You can check which version of Google Maps is running on your phone by going to Settings > Apps > Google Maps.