Google has been adding some new features to the Google Maps app recently, making it even more user-friendly and useful. Now, a new server-side update brings the Google Maps widget some handy features right to your home screen, reports Android Central.
Navigation to your favorite destinations can now be done directly on your home screen
The home-screen widget for Google Maps on Android is getting some helpful additions to its functionality that have already made their way on the iOS 15 widget for the same app. It will allow you to navigate to your favorite destinations directly from your home screen, supports Android 12 Material You Dynamic Color, and is available as a server-side update (so you can’t actually manually install the new version, but you’ll have to wait for it to appear).
First off, let’s talk about the new navigation feature. The new widget is now getting several useful shortcuts that will help you navigate to your favorite destinations. It can offer shortcuts to home, work, restaurants, and gas stations, and how many shortcuts you can fit in depends on the size of the widget that you have chosen. If it’s a bigger one, you can also have grocery stores, coffee shops, hotels, and takeout restaurants.
The new widget was first spotted by u/Mathieu_G_Gagnon on Reddit, and it’s a part of the new beta update to Maps version 11.3.0. With these shortcuts, you can start navigating without having to open the app itself and manually entering a destination. The widget also has a search bar at the top so you can quickly find other destinations as well. Currently, there are only up to eight shortcuts that can be added to the widget at max size.
Another update that the Google Maps widget got shows up only on devices running Android 12 beta. It is actually Dynamic Color, which basically matches the color of your wallpaper and apps and backgrounds for a more consistent visual experience. Dynamic Color comes with Android 12’s Material You redesign, which aims at a more pleasant viewing experience with colors that match everywhere and rounder corners of apps, alongside other subtle design tweaks here and there.
If your phone is on Android 11 and you haven’t updated to a beta of Android 12 (the stable version of the new OS has not yet been officially released), the Google Maps widget will remain with the blue accent color of Maps.
This update highlights the plan Google is having that will expand home screen control for some of its apps. So far, YouTube Music, Google Keep, and Drive have also gotten new widgets.
Keep in mind that the update to the Google Maps widget is a server-side one, and as we mentioned earlier, you need to wait to receive it, if you still haven’t received it on your Android phone.
The YouTube Music widget also got a redesign recently
Recently, we reported on the fact that the YouTube Music widget also got the Android 12’s Material You elements. The new widget arrives again as a part of a server-side update, so if you haven’t received it yet, you just have to wait for it. It looks like a vinyl record with a like button on its top right-hand side, and the play/pause controls situated on the bottom left-hand side.
So far, many of Google’s apps have already received the new Material You design as an update. It is now available for its Productivity apps such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, and others, as well as for Clock and Google Lens. Translate and Messages have also gotten Material You elements in preparation for the big Android 12 official stable release.