Today Google unveiled a new vision for Google Maps that will come to the desktop in the near future and mobile devices this summer, but users can sign up to try the new features very soon.
The new Google Maps features a new design that gets rid of large sidebars, focusing more on the Maps themselves. The map tiles of Google Maps also have a new, clean look to them with easier to identify locations thanks to new icons that dot the map.
To get the new Google Maps, users just have to go to this website and sign up to receive an invitation. Invitations should start going out to users sometime within the next few days. It’s not clear exactly how many users Google will invite to the new Maps before they roll out to everyone.
As noted in leaks of the new Google Maps, it features a smarter floating search bar that can display location information, ratings and reviews. The new search bar only takes up a small portion of the Maps display, letting users see more of the content they want to see.
Whenever a user clicks on a location in the new Google Maps, the web app will highlight related streets so users can explore the area more easily. The highlighted roads should make it easier to find how a location relates to other stores and landmarks around it.
The new Google Maps also incorporates some Google Earth features with the new Earth View mode, which presents 3D models of cities and other locations around the world. The mode looks similar to Flyover in Apple Maps, but it’s in a mapping service that more people seem to want to use. Users can zoom out in Earth View to see the entirety of the Earth, complete with real-time cloud information.