The upgrade is part of Google’s Material Design—“a formalized, unified design language across all their products, platforms, and devices”—which aims to give all Google apps a real-world feel with textures and buttons that lend themselves to touch-screen devices.
In addition to the cosmetic enhancements, U.S. users can make a restaurant reservation directly in Google Maps thanks to Google’s partnership with OpenTable. When searching for directions, the app will show Uber wait time, estimated fare, and travel time to a destination. (Previous versions of the Uber integration only showed travel time.)
The new Google Maps also has enhanced information on places, allowing users to view photos, read reviews, check operating hours, and more—all within the app. And for the adventurous, the new Explore option shows popular attractions nearby.