Google Maps for iOS adds iMessage app for location sharing, new ‘Directions’ widget

Google today is rolling out an update to its Google Maps app on iOS that further integrates the app throughout the operating system. The update brings the app to version 4.30.0 and includes a pair of notable changes to the user interface as Google works to better compete with the integration offered throughout iOS by Apple Maps.

First off, Google Maps today gains support for a new Directions widget. This, Google touts, allows you to access your directions anywhere in iOS from the Today View. For instance, if you’re on the lock screen, you can swipe to the left to view directions from Google Maps.

Previously, Google Maps directions were only displayed in-app and via push notifications, but this update makes it even easier to keep up with directions to wherever you may be headed.

Secondly, today’s update adds Google Maps integration with iMessage. With the new iMessage app, you can instantly send your location to someone, allowing them to quickly find directions and travel times.

This feature addition comes as Google Maps earlier gained real-time location sharing. The iMessage app, however, only supports static location sharing, meaning it doesn’t constantly update like what’s offered on Android by Google Maps and on iOS by Apple’s “Find My Friends” app.

Below is the full change log for today’s Google Maps update:

What’s New in Version 4.30.0

  • Get turn-by-turn navigation right on your lock screen with the new Directions widget
  • Use the new iMessage app to send your static location to contacts without leaving the conversation
  • Bug fixes

Over recent months, Google has gradually been rolling out new features to the Google Maps app on iOS. The updates have mainly centered around making it quicker and easier to access Google Maps throughout the operating system, something that is somewhat challenging for third-party applications.

On the other hand, Apple Maps is heavily integrated throughout iOS. For instance, Google Maps recently gained “Nearby Transit” and “Travel Times” widgets, as well as support for popular times details and a “Nearby Traffic” widget.

The latest version of Google Maps for iOS is available on the App Store for free.

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