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Google Maps shows some extra love with Android

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Local traffic updates are being added to the Google Maps homescreen.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google Maps for Android is going to get a whole lot better, thanks to the introduction of the first of a number of useful new widgets.

The local traffic widget is a little map that appears on your home screen and updates in real time to show you the current state of traffic. Even while it offers nothing more than allow you to zoom in and out with one tap, it might still be really handy.

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In a blog post(opens in new tab) promoting Android widgets, especially those available on Google’s own apps, it was announced, and it’s surely welcome…. For Android users, there are now just home-screen shortcuts in Google Maps, despite Google recently rolling out a number of new features, including widget upgrades for iOS.

You can launch a specific Google Maps feature like Driving Mode or Directions, but until today the only “real” Android widget was a search bar to help you find companies and destinations more quickly. These 1×1 app icons

“In the coming weeks,” Google will roll out a traffic widget that lets you view what’s going on in your immediate area without having to search for and open the Google Maps app.

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(Image credit: Google)

For Google Maps for Android, though, the advent of this widget means far more than just what it can accomplish. Furthermore, Google is eager to provide us with better and more useful homescreen widgets than those currently offered.

The “Pinned Trip” widget first appeared on iOS in April of this year. Because of the widget’s name, you don’t need to open Google Maps to see the specifics of any excursions you’ve saved to the Go tab. Currently, Android doesn’t have a Google Maps widget like this, but there’s no reason why it can’t—and the new local traffic option proves that.

So, let’s hope this is just the first of many widget enhancements Google has planned for us. A constantly updating home screen widget worries me because of its potential impact on battery life.

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