Google is clearly a big believer in evolution over revolution for its most popular products.
Case in point: its latest update to Google Maps, which lets users search nearby points of interest while driving navigation is turned on.
The company is rolling out the feature over the next few weeks, it announced in a blog post on Tuesday. It’s a welcome improvement, but initially, only Android users will be able to enjoy it.
You’ll see a search icon near the top right of the navigation display; clicking it will open a dropdown menu with choices for gas stations, restaurants and other points of interest near your route. Google will even display the prices and wait times of nearby gas stations, which is nothing short of a small miracle.
With the exception of gas price information, Google Maps has technically always had this capability; users just had to cancel their routes, perform a search and reset their route, in what was a rather circuitous process. With this update, Google will make Maps just a little bit more helpful.
Apple Maps, on the other hand, is finally starting to become relevant as it makes the transition from almost unusable at its 2012 launch to worthy of your consideration. However, it still has to contend with Google, which clearly is not about to sit on its laurels.
Google has become adept at adding small but useful features to its ubiquitous products. Earlier Tuesday, the search giant announced a feature to mute the audio on individual Chrome tabs, a godsend in a world overrun with autoplay video.
Now, Google just needs to launch this feature on iOS, so the iPhone users of the world can enjoy it, too. (No word yet on when that will be.)