Google Maps Arrives for Apple Watch

Google

Google Maps has finally arrived for the Apple Watch.

The newest version of the iOS app offers an Apple Watch companion app that streamlines the process typically done on your smartphone. On the Apple Watch, you can quickly access routes to saved locations like your office or home, or pull up directions to any locations you’ve recently navigated to on your phone.

When you start directions on your iPhone, they’re also automatically synced to your Apple Watch as well, similar to the experience you currently get with Apple Maps and the Apple Watch.

Turn-by-turn directions can be pulled up for driving, walking, or using public transportation. 

Notably different from Apple’s included Maps application, the Apple Watch app is not capable of displaying a map to your destination. That means if you’re a visual person and need to see where you’re going, you’ll have to pull out your phone in order to do so. That said, the app does display arrows along with each direction point to help make sure you head the correct way.

That said, aside from a colorful map, a lot of the functionality and accuracy you've become accustomed to with the app is there. If you're a dedicated Google Maps user for whatever reason, then the update is likely a very welcome addition.

Of course, the previous version of Google Maps worked somewhat with Google Maps. Previously if you started directions and locked your phone, you could get a push notification on your Apple Watch when you approached a turn along the way.

The new version of the app makes that experience much more intuitive; however, so you’ll get larger notifications as well as the arrows to help point you the right way. You can also opt to listen to voice cues through your headphones, just as you may have done in the past.

In addition to Apple Watch support, the newest version of the Google Maps app also adds the ability to compare ETAs based on driving, using public transportation, walking, and biking.

That way you can decide things like whether it’s faster to drive or take the train to a particular location on a single screen, without having to launch each set of directions separately.

Maps is arguably one of the best features of the Apple Watch. With the Apple Maps app and now Google Maps, you’re able to load up directions and put your phone away. It definitely comes in handy when you’re walking to a new place and need directions, but don’t want to have your face buried in your phone while you’re strolling through an unfamiliar neighborhood.

The Google Maps application for the Apple Watch is notable since Google is technically trying to compete with the Apple Watch with Android Wear devices.  It’s interesting that the company would create Google Maps support for Apple Watch users rather than keep that feature exclusive for Android users. That said, it’s definitely a welcome upgrade for Apple Watch owners.

You can download the newest version of Google Maps, with Apple Watch support, now from iTunes.  If you’d rather stick with Apple Maps, here’s a step by step guide on how to use the mapping application on your Apple Watch.