Sunday, March 18, 2012

Google Maps Gets Uber, Open Table Upgrade


In this mobile age, it seems to be far more common to see someone navigating with a smartphone than with a dedicated GPS device. And, of all of the cell phone navigation apps available, Google Maps is undoubtedly one of the most popular. On Wednesday, Google Maps introduced a new update designed to help catapult them to the top of the list of mobile navigation apps.

The most recent update, which is available for iOS and Android devices, will make slight tweaks to the interface to make it more user-friendly. The update also will improve the accuracy of the estimated time of arrival and, most importantly, has added integration and support for Uber and Open Table within Google Maps.

While I can certainly see the appeal of not only getting directions to your favorite destinations, but using Open Table to ensure that you have a seat waiting for you when you get there, the addition of Uber seems like sort of an odd choice. For those of you unaware, Uber is a mobile taxi hailing service which has received plenty of great and horrible reviews and plenty of controversy since it’s launch earlier this year. While the partnership between Google Maps and Uber is definitely going to help Uber gain more support and legitimacy with the public, to me it seems a little pointless to have an app that hails a cab within a mapping and navigation service. I mean… if you’re going to hail a cab, then why would you need turn-by-turn navigation? Either way, this update is pretty significant for Google Maps.

But what do you think? Will it make Google Maps more relevant for navigation, or not? Let me know in the comments!

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