Google has added a bunch of helpful new capabilities to Google Maps app on iPhone in the form of a new widget. Apple added the ability to shake-up the grid of app icons on your homescreen with widgets last year with the launch of iOS 14. Google Maps added a few widgets for a while now, but the latest addition – dubbed Know Before You Go – is easily the best yet.
The new widget is designed to be preemptive, Google says. From your homescreen, it shows a small map of your current location. It’s only available in a small one-by-one square …so you won’t be able to see a huge area around you, but it still helps as Google overlays the current traffic conditions. So, without launching the app and entering into turn-by-turn driving mode – you can see whether the roads around you are congested, closed, or running fine.
But the Know Before You Go widget isn’t just for those looking to drive on the roads. Tapping the widget will open Google Maps at your current location, with some extra information about the area around you.
This includes local shop opening times, restaurant reviews and menus, information on the business of local places over time, and photos shared by other users.
If you’re new to an area, tapping the widget on your homescreen is a great way to load-up information about your surroundings.
The Know Before You Go widget arrives as part of a feature-packed update for iPhone. The update to Google Maps, version 5.74, also adds a homescreen widget on iPhone and iPad called “Find Places Nearby.” The design of this widget uses the same layout for its Search and Chrome app.
It starts with a pill-shaped search, tapping it launches Google Maps and opens keyboard – so you can start typing to find a location nearby.