Google Maps, the popular Google product that was conceived and developed in Sydney, Australia, is turning 15 years old. And it is celebrating with a host of new features and updates.
Google Maps, which is used by billions of people every day, went live for the first time on February 8, 2005.
It was co-founded by Australian software engineer Noel Gordon and at launch it was completely web based.
Initially Google Maps were being served to more than 10 million times per day despite the fact users needed to print out their map before heading out.
A year later that figure would increase to 60 million.
In those early days, the iPhone was still more than two years away from release and the mobile version of Google Maps just didn’t exist.
Google had to create an easy way for users to print out their map to take it with them.
But just two short years later, the mobile version of Google Maps was developed and just in time for the release of the original.
That was an absolute game changer.
Today Google Maps serve more than a billion maps each month.
Other features to be added after launch included real-time traffic (2007), Street View (2007), navigation (2009) and wheelchair accessible routes (2018).
One of the latest new features introduced last year was Live View which can show you your route through your smartphone’s camera using Augmented Reality.
Live View shows you your surroundings and overlays your directions which makes it easier for you to head in the right direction and reach your destination.
To celebrate its 15th birthday, Google Maps is being updated with a new look and new features for both Android and iOS.
This feature lets you know about what’s close to you whether you’re looking for something to eat or something to do or something to see including restaurants, attractions and landmarks complete with ratings and reviews
No matter how you are travelling either by car, public transport of walking, the Commute tab will help you find the most efficient route which is updated with real-time traffic and travel times.
There have been more than 6.5 billion places on Google Maps saved by users. You can now view all of those saved locations in one place to help you organise an upcoming trip.
Millions of people each year add information to Google Maps to help keep it up to date – and so can you.
Users can easily share local knowledge, business reviews, details about roads and photos which can help others learn about new places.
The new Updates tab lets you see a feed of trending spots from local experts as well as discovering and sharing recommendations with your network.
The famous Google Maps pin icon (the original design is actually on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York) is also getting a makeover and will now go from being red to multi-coloured.
Last year Google Maps introduced new features that could predict how crowded your bus or train ride will be to help you plan your travels.
Now you can see important details like temperature comfort levels, wheelchair access, if there is a women’s section, if there is security onboard and how many carriages are available.