January 10, 2023

Google Maps: 2022 announcements, ranging from new APIs to innovative services

Google Maps in 2022: What's new

This past year, 2022 has seen a number of launches by Google Maps Platform, with the aim of improving both the user experience and the services that businesses offer to their customers.

From more accessible and intuitive information, to services that can use up to date data that is in line with the times, such as sustainability and delivery related services.

In the order that the announcements were made, our team of experts, who are dedicated to location-based services, have put together an overview of some of the new features announced by Google Maps in 2022.

Google Maps in 2022: See what’s new

Q1: Starting the year with practical launches

From the Google Maps Platform team itself, one of its principles at Google is that it is built for everyone. That’s why the first releases of the year have revolved around developer features such as Maps Compose, as well as for those who don’t have those resources, such as Quick Builder.  

With Quick Builder, you can customise and launch location-based experiences in minutes. It is an intuitive tool to discover, explore and deploy recommended APIs for your mapping needs. For example, you can create a Store Locator for your business, easily import details from your Google Business Profile, and gain data insights – all without writing a line of code.

Additionally,  you may want to create hyperlocal experiences by displaying tailored, recommended amenities or attractions with Neighbourhood Discovery. 

Quick Builder is great for visual learners and only requires 3 simple steps:

  • Customize your needs
  • Preview changes instantly
  • Export or launch in minutes.

Google Maps in 2022: QuickBuilder
Demo of the Address Selection Quick Builder solution

This is a great way to help users get the most out of their Google Maps Platform deployments.

In the Google Console you can find a library of solutions to explore. Below are the most common location-based experiences:

Quick Builder Google Console

Also in this quarter, Google Maps Platform announced the Last Mile Fleet Solution, especially for transport and delivery businesses. With Last Mile Fleet Solution, businesses can enhance their shipping experience with simplified address entry to help capture the right addresses. Providing shipment tracking and up-to-date arrival times allows consumers to be prepared and available to receive their packages. Detailed delivery locations can help drivers drop off packages at the right place, every time.

Contact a representative from Snowdrop Solutions to know more

Q2: It’s all about the customer experience

In May, we published our Case Study with Costa Coffee, explaining how the UK’s best known coffee company is using Google Maps APIs to direct customers to each of its 4,000 plus shops across the world, as well as streamline payments, and optimize deliveries.

In June we saw the release of Google’s Data Driven Styling, an engaging way to use the Maps Javascript API to build informative and captivating maps for your customers. There are several things that can be done with this update:

  • Access the same boundaries your users are familiar with
  • Highlight areas of interest
  • Enhance your own or publicly sources data through Google’s boundaries
  • Create rich, customised choropleth maps to communicate key information

Moreover, with nothing more than a Javascript Vector Map configured MapID and a PlaceID, it is now possible to:

  • Reduce your spending on third-party boundary data and maintenance
  • Rely on the same polygons for boundaries your users see on Google Maps
  • Streamline your development process.

Data Driven Styling
Polygons can do a lot and when combined with your data, the possibilities are endless

To learn more about Data-Driven Styling and to get started, please contact your Account Manager at Snowdrop Solutions.

Contact a representative from Snowdrop Solutions to know more

Q3: Introducing new functionalities and APIs

During the summer, several enhancements to existing features were released, such as the new look of the red pin in JavaScript Maps, Android and iOS the new version history support for Cloud-based maps styling, or the roll-out of hyperlocal context to improve the navigation experience.

These launches were joined in September by the following releases, which we discuss in more detail below: Address Validation API and Routes API.

Address Validation API helps validate and detect invalid address inputs with Places data powered by Google Maps Platform.

Representative experience of using Address Validation at checkout and order confirmation

With Address Validation API companies can give their users peace of mind by improving checkout and delivery with reliable addresses – In addition to reducing costly errors by correcting and enriching addresses with more useful information early in the checkout process.

Easily benefit from the point of interest in Google Maps Platform’s for enhanced accuracy and wider coverage to help reach the proper delivery destination:

  • Reduce friction at checkout by offering address corrections and suggestions to reduce fail or mis-deliveries.
  • Improve delivery success and costly errors  by ensuring packages reach the right destination with more precise components such as apartment numbers.
  • For the financial services sector helps verify addresses to new account holders or risk assessment.

To end the quarter, Google announced in 2022 a new API called Routes API.

As we covered in our dedicated post on the new API, the new Routing API is a new, performance-optimized version of the existing Directions and Distance Matrix APIs, which allows companies to offer more informative and flexible routes to users, and improves ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) accuracy.

In addition, this new API introduces new features such as two-wheeled routes for motorbikes, toll data, real-time traffic visualization along a route, smarter waypoints, etc.

To learn more about these two new APIs and to get started, contact your Account Manager at Snowdrop Solutions.

Contact a representative from Snowdrop Solutions to know more

Q4: Spotlight on the user

Towards the end of the year, the Google Maps team once again focused on the user, providing tips and tricks so that the information that companies offer using Google Maps, can be accessed in a clear and intuitive way.

For example, explaining how POIs are always kept up to date using IA/ML and community contributions, or how users can learn more about businesses on Google Maps using the Places API.

This last year, Google made an effort to contribute more to sustainability, both in Cloud and in Maps. An example of this is the release of eco-friendly routing, aiming to show users more sustainable routes, which can also be implemented by businesses so that they have the option to enable eco-friendly routes in their web and mobile experiences.

Eco-friendly routing is available wherever it’s available on Google Maps and the Google team is continuing to expand coverage.

Eco-routes Google Maps
A representative mock up that shows the backend options when enabling eco-friendly routing

The easily recognisable, famous red pin has become an iconic part of the Google Maps experience. With the release of Google Advanced Markers in October, comes the opportunity to make your maps unique to you and relevant to your customers.

Now, the Advanced Marker can be customised completely to suit any business’ needs. This includes a change of colour, background, icon and outline of the default Google Maps red pin. The Advanced Markers can be created with custom SVG assets and even show desired information using custom markers with HTML elements—all directly in your code.

Advanced Markers
A representative mockup of a real estate company using custom markers with HTML elements to display property prices

What are the benefits of using Advanced Markers?

  • Make the markers unique to business need
  • Improved Marker Performance (up to 66% faster loading)
  • Control and prioritise the collision of markers
  • Developer efficiency (customise the pin directly in code)

Contact a representative from Snowdrop Solutions to know more

And that’s it! You can subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.

This was the summary of the new features launched by the Google Maps team in 2022. If you want to stay up to date with future releases and learn more about our services and news, you can subscribe to our quarterly newsletter here:

Want to know more?

Snowdrop Solutions is a Google Maps Premier Partner with over eight years’ experience working with leading companies to solve complex location challenges. We offer expertise, insights and owned technology which combined help our customers bring to life enhanced consumer experiences.

We deploy location data to build consumer trust. When information is not displayed in a clear way it can cause confusion and anxiety for customers: we simplify people’s lives by enabling our customers to deploy location enriched user interactions that build trust.

If you want to know more about how to add location-based services to your business, you can contact us by filling out the form below.