Google to unveil new Maps interface at I/O conference next week

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Google is reportedly planning to unveil an all-new look for Google Maps during the company’s annual I/O conference set to kick off next week. The new interface will deliver full-screen maps with no sidebars or other distractions to eat up valuable real estate. Instead, everything will be displayed in floating windows on top of the map.

Other noteworthy changes include changing the color of streets and refreshing a number of well-known icons. There will also be deeper Google+ integration in the new Maps. For example, you’ll soon be able to search for local results based on recommendations from those in your circles.

The overall idea with the refresh is to make Maps more user friendly on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. After all, these are the devices that people likely use Maps on the most. Gone are the days of routing your trip on a computer and printing turn-by-turn directions. Now, people simply use their smartphone for travel assistance on-the-fly.

Whether or not the refresh will be a hit among the masses remains to be seen. If we’ve learned anything about maps over the past year, it’s that people don’t like change (remember the Apple Maps fiasco?). Sure, Apple did a pretty terrible job with the actual mapping part, what with leading users to get lost in parks and whatnot. But the reality here is that the new Google Maps, if the screenshots are legit, borrow heavily from Apple’s look and style.

What’s more, do people really care about some of the new features like deeper Google+ integration? And what do you think about the new look overall? Sound off in the comments below!

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