Latest Google Maps iOS update brings new Directions widgets and iMessage integration
The new widget gives you quick access to turn-by-turn directions from your Today View (swiping right on the lock screen). You can enable Google Directions from the Edit button at the bottom of the Today View screen, just like you would add a regular widget. The widget will then display details about your current journey or give you easy access to the full app, by tapping on it. You no longer need to always open the Maps app when you need to take a look at your route, or rely on sporadic push notifications, as you easily access all needed info through the widget. You can combine Directions with some other Google Maps features, such as Travel Times or Nearby Traffic, and have thorough travel assistance.
The second bit of the update is just as handy for iOS users, as it brings location sharing through iMessage. You can now easily send a snapshot of where you are, without having to copy and paste numbers and links, or switch to the full G Maps app. You can activate it in iMessage through the Store feature inside the messenger, and add your location to the message, not much differently to adding a sticker. The app, however, only supports static sharing and doesn’t update as you go, like it does on Android devices.
Nonetheless, the latest update should be well welcomed by Apple fans at large, as the lack of iMessage sharing meant that customers had share coordinates through alternatives like Viber, which can be a bit fiddly. The Directions widget, on the other hand, makes using Google’s app on iOS devices even more intuitive, almost as if it’s an in-built part of your system. Except that it’s not.