Google Maps tips and tricks: 22 things to try next time you drive
Plus: 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV review: Top tech in a compact EV. Advertisement Currently Google Maps’ widget offering is pretty weak. Five home screen widgets are available, and are essentially shortcuts to a selection of Google Maps features. That includes directions, Driving Mode, sharing your location, seeing as friends’ location, and viewing local traffic.
The Google Maps widget will allow Android users to navigate directly from their homescreen. Widgets are getting a substantial overhaul as part of Android 12, and Google appears to be pushing home-screen controls for many of its key apps. According to the appearances, one of them is Google Maps. Reddit user u/Matieu G Gagnon shared screenshots of a fresh new Google Maps widget in the app’s most recent beta version (v11.3.0). And it appears that Google is adding the search bar, as well as a number of handy Google Maps shortcuts, to your home screen.
The widget appears to have all the essential shortcuts to get you out on the road and navigating without actually having to locate and open up the Google Maps app. That includes a search bar, home and work buttons, as well as shortcuts to help you find key locations around you; restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, and so on.
Which is not that great, to be honest, especially when other Google apps, like Gmail or Keep, let you pin condensed version of the apps themselves to your home screen. Plus two of the Google maps shortcuts wouldn’t even pin to my home screen correctly, which is always a fantastic start. The new Google Maps widget appears to be quite simple, and reminiscent of the Maps widget on iOS. However, it’s all based around the Material You design rather than the classic Google Maps look you might see on an iPhone.
The new widget is rolling out now, and according to XDA Developers will feature dynamic theming on devices running Android 12. While it will be available on Android 11, it looks like the widget will stick with the same typical blue accents as Google’s other widgets.
Better still the widget can be resized to match what you need. But it appears that the number of available shortcuts will depend on how much home screen space the new Google Maps widget gets. It looks like the absolute maximum is eight, and it’s not clear whether any other customization is permitted.