Google Maps for iOS gets new features for a smarter drive

Traffic updates and place searches

While Apple Maps has grown to become a worthy competitor, Google Maps for iOS hasn't slowed down in terms of adding new functions and features - and if you have the app installed on an iPhone you'll see a couple of new tweaks arriving very soon.

First up is an iOS widget showing traffic in your current location, even if you're not actually navigating anywhere at the time. The idea is you can take evasive action or maybe just resign yourself to a delay as you go about your daily business. The feature is also live now for Android users, in the form of push notifications rather than a widget.

Second, you can now search for places along a route while you're getting directions to somewhere - run a search from the navigation screen and Google Maps shows you the restaurants or gas stations coming up that won't take you too far away from the route that's already been defined.

Going live

Being able to search for places without leaving your current route is a real time-saver and has been available to Android users for several months now. By tapping on any of the results you can see how much time it will add to your journey (not counting how long it takes you to eat a Big Mac).

It's not the only recent edition to Google Maps either - for some locations, the app now gives you live updates for how busy a particular place is right at the moment. Google hasn't said exactly how it does this, but presumably it's a mix of live, anonymized data it's collecting from Google users plus some algorithmic guesswork.

All of which gives you a few more reasons to deploy Google Maps if you're traveling anywhere over the holiday period and want to get there in the quickest time possible. Apple, it's your move.

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