Google Maps keeps inexorably flattening the competition, as it never stops adding features that eventually become indispensable. I want it all, as Queen said, and I want it now. And now the latest version of the app adds another brilliant feature consisting of a home screen widget that with just a tap takes you to a tab showing how traffic is between your location and intended destination.
To add the widget you have two options. The first is the same as usual: hold down your finger on the home screen, go into the widgets section, and search for Traffic. (This will appear once you’ve updated to the latest version of Google Maps.) The next method is to open Google Maps, pull out the side menu, and go to the Traffic section. At the bottom of your screen you’ll see a notification that can add the widget automatically.
Google’s potential as a traffic analyzer is obvious. In the case of Your Correspondent, it’s managed to show in great detail that one of the streets on my route to work has been cut off by construction on the metro, and offers an alternative route as well as the estimated time of arrival according to the flow of traffic at the moment. Even better, if you go into navigation mode, a sweet Google voice explains this situation almost exactly as I’ve written it here. Clearly says something about the results we can expect from the new widget overall.
This widget works with the existing one for Google Maps to offer a shortcut to Driving Mode, which is ideal if you use your phone as a GPS in the car. The way to activate it is basically the same as the process above.
The new version of Google Maps (9.39.1) is available for free on Uptodown in APK format.