El Goog is rolling out a bunch of improvements to its Maps apps for Android and iOS. Some of them are small improvements, and some of them are friggin' awesome.
Most significantly, when you're using Maps for turn-by-turn navigation, it will tell you which lane you should stay in (or move to), so you won't be surprised by suddenly having to make a left when you've been cruising in the far-right lane. This is fantastic. I can't count how many times I've missed a turn I could have easily made if only I'd known what lane I should be getting into. Reducing the number of times you have to drive off for miles in the wrong direction before you finally get to an exit where you can turn around? Massive improvement.
It's also going to be easier to save maps for offline use. Currently, you have to know to type in the secret phrase "OK maps" which will save whatever is on your screen, but with this update you'll be able to simply search for an area, tap on its place info sheet, and hit "Save map to use offline." Much more intuitive. You can also name your saved maps for easier referencing.
New filters are also being added to the search system. You'll be able to look for restaurants, hotels, bars, and businesses by open hours, rating, price, and other criteria. This is nothing revolutionary, of course, but it will make Maps more competitive with Yelp, which has offered those kinds of (extremely useful) filters for a long time.
It's also improving things for those of us without cars. If you're planning on taking public transportation you can add options like "Depart at" to chose the time and date you want to leave. And for those of us who stay out late, there's even a "last train home" feature. Or, if you're planning on searching for alternative ways home, Maps will now integrate data from Uber. You'll be able to compare the ride with transit and walking directions, and if you choose the Uber option, it will jump you right over to the Uber app (assuming you have it installed and it's available in your area).
There are a few other little things, but all of this adds up to a pretty significant update. It should begin rolling out today. Can't wait to try the turning lane feature. [Google LatLong]