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Mapping Further: Google Maps Tests New ‘commute Tab’ to Replace Driving and Transit Tabs

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The popular web mapping service Google Maps is on a roll to improvise its features as it is exploring more options and layouts for its bottom tabs. Most of the users have access to three tabs, namely, Explore, Driving, Transit, while those in the US and some other countries can also avail the For You tab. And now, on a bright note, some users can spot a separate tab for the Map, propped up with a combined Commute tab.

As per some users, the combined Google Maps Commute tab was first seen by Android Police (of the latest stable 9.85.2 version). A tap on the tab brought up a new interface with “To work” or “To home” options as shown on the upper title bar. Not only this, on the bottom of the interface, cards for the recommended and alternate routes were displayed too.

The interface offers a fresh new overflow menu that enables the user to quickly go to her/his commute settings and then perform their share of to-do, be it sharing one’s location or the directions, enabling different layers such as traffic, satellite, terrain, changing route options and so on.

Google Maps New TabPresumably, the interface as it would appear while being on a public transport as the chosen commute method would sport options such as train/bus stations, departures, and ETAs.

What’s impressive about this new interface is that it outshines the existing UI by being more streamlined without the sliding bottom menu which zeroes in on getting the user to the next nearest destination quite smoothly. But, on the downside, the top selection for Home/Work might not be convenient for all users as the displays getting taller; an option like this requires the user to do some finger gymnastics when Google Maps fails to guess the next destination accurately.

Moreover, the bottom sliding menu being done away with also means that the user might lose some contextual driving destinations (such as gym, university, office and other such frequent destinations), which can be really annoying to deal with. Also, the “Start driving” mode and navigation stats that were instantly accessible on the former interface seem to be missing from the new one, which comes across as another hitch.

At the outset though, this is a very new interface put up by Google Maps and therefore is a server-side test that is yet to be made a permanent add-on feature, and yet to be made widespread. As of now, reviews of the individual user, the experience of the few users who can access this interface on their Google Maps are being gathered to gauge the efficiency of the feature. So this is a heads up for all the Google Maps users who can see the new Commute tab to provide screenshots and details into its working, positives, and negatives, and especially for the users who avail public transport, to take a good look into the interface and put up their experience of using the interface.

It’s up to the user reviews and the follow-up team of Google Maps to decide whether the Commute tab is good enough to survive the test-run and be the new tab on the service to look forward to!


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