A useful update to an under-served feature
Google is rolling out some small but useful updates to Google Maps focusing on the app’s Saved tab. If you’ve not used it before, this lets you bookmark favorite locations, be they parks or pubs, and sort them by “favorites,” “want to go,” “starred places,” or custom lists.
The update makes it easier to sort locations if you happen to have saved a lot of them. You can now order places by how recently you saved them and by how close you are (if Google Maps has access to your location, that is, which it probably does).
If you’ve turned on your Location History in Google Maps, the app will also now make it easier to add places to the Saved tab by suggesting them based on where you’ve been. Locations you’ve visited will now be saved on the app’s Timeline feature.
As Google puts it: “You can also easily find that amazing hole in the wall restaurant you visited during one of your past vacations, or that cute boutique you popped into a few weeks ago. All of these insights are now organized by time, city, region or country.”
These updates (which are rolling out now, says Google) are certainly welcome. The Saved tab has always seemed like a feature with much more potential than actual utility to me, so it’s good to see it getting a bit more attention. The idea of having a tool that functions as both a travel diary and a to-do list for places to visit in your hometown is very appealing. But the actual experience using the Saved tab is a bit frustrating.
The biggest annoyance is that if you’ve got a lot of places saved then it immediately clutters up your map view, with no quick way to toggle labels on and off (you can only hide individual lists). This immediately discourages you from actually saving places, and using the features as it’s designed. These changes are a start, but Google could do more.