Cillian Bracken Conway
15th Dec, 2015

Google has announced on Google+ the release of the latest iOS version of the Google search app and Google Maps. The new updates included 3 new features – 3D Touch functionality for iPhone 6S devices, multitasking for the iPad, and holiday hours and data of local businesses on search results.

3D Touch is one of the biggest features on iPhone 6S devices that Google is taking advantage of, adding a compatible feature for the iOS. This allows easy access to shortcuts from the home screen when activated. In the case of Google search app, users only need to press the Google app icon on the home screen, and it will pull up shortcuts of quick search, voice search, and image search.

Image of an iPhone home screen showing shortcuts of Google search features – Quick Search, Voice Search, and Image Search

Google also added support for iPad multi-tasking through Split View and Slide Over. Both features allow users to use Google app with another app simultaneously and view them side by side. Slide Over support also enables search lookup, while reading an article or sending a text. Multi-tasking support is available on the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and iPad Pro. People without an iPad can still enjoy the Slide Over multi-task feature on any iOS devices.

The updated version of Google search app returns more comprehensive information. Local search on restaurants, bars and other businesses will not only yield information required, but also holiday hours, complete with a graph that shows the busiest times of the day for a particular business. This will help users plan their trip smartly and avoid times of big crowds and long queues.

Image showing results of popular times of a particular business, complete with graph, contact details and image.

Google released this popular times feature last July of this year. Data is gathered through crowdsourcing and is shown when a specific business location is clicked. The map will show how much foot traffic a business gets at certain times of the day.

The updated Google Map will also show petrol prices based from data of nearby petrol stations. Data is fed to Google by the petrol stations themselves. This will give motorists an idea as to which stations along their route will help them save money when refuelling.

The 3D Touch support is one of the Google updates that show the search giant is now more focused on Apple-centric functions. Google is not playing favourites with iOS, as 2 out of the 3 new functions are also compatible with Android OS. It is only taking advantage of the iPhone 6S’ feature, which is not found on Android devices.

Key Takeaway

Released in time for the holidays, the updated versions of Google iOS search app and Google Maps definitely arrived at the right time. Doesn’t everyone want to spend as little time as possible when searching online for local business and just get right on to business? With more consumers going out to do their Christmas shopping, knowing when to avoid the crowd and the long lines is also a great advantage. Not to mention, saving money with the ability to compare fuel prices based on data provided by Google Maps.