Google wants its Maps app to be about more than just getting directions. The search giant on Thursday announced a handful of new features aimed at helping people while they are planning trips and traveling.
One new feature lets people pull up their travel reservations, like flight and hotel bookings, so they don’t have to leave the app while they’re navigating to a new destination. The tool works if you’re offline, so it’s available for travelers going to off-the-grid places. Another update lets people export a list of of restaurants and other places they’ve visited to share with friends.
The changes come after Google shut down its travel management app Trips earlier this week but said it would integrate its features into the company’s other products.
Google also said Thursday it’s expanding its augmented reality walking navigations, a feature that helps people find their way by using a phone’s camera and showing digital arrows on the screen. The feature, which has been in testing, is also getting a new name: Live View. It will be available on Android phones and iPhones that can support augmented reality graphics, in locations where Google Maps’ Street View is available.
The new features are part of a push to make Maps a more useful hub of information. In June, for example, the company introduced new tools to help people during a crisis or natural disaster, like showing an earthquake’s epicenter or making it easier to navigate through a crisis zone. Google Maps has also been expanding its discovery tools. Earlier this year, the company said the Maps would highlight a menu’s most popular dishes and let people order food directly from the app.
The features announced Thursday, though, also highlight just how much Google knows about its users. It can corral all your travel bookings in the app because it knows your plans from Gmail receipts and web history. The list of your favorite restaurants is generated if you’ve turned on your location history.
The location history tool has drawn criticism in the past. Google faced blowback after the Associated Press reported last year that Google tracked people’s location even after they’d turned off location-sharing on their phones.