It’s support for the Apple Watch, something that Google originally ditched three years ago but which the company decided to bring back with a new update this week.
The Mountain View-based search giant announced in August that Google Maps would return to the Apple Watch with a future update, and today, this update is finally available for everyone with an iPhone.
To get support for the Apple Watch in Google Maps, you need to install app version 5.52.
Google Maps works on the Apple Watch exactly how you’d expect it to work, although one thing that needs to be mentioned here is that the app doesn’t show full maps on the smartwatch. Instead, Google Maps just shows instructions to reach your destination, so some users might just decide to stick with Apple Maps until support for the map is released.
At the same time, Google Maps comes with its very own complication on the Apple Watch, as it only serves as an app shortcut, as it doesn’t seem to show any information when a destination is configured.
And speaking of destinations, you can’t set one right from the Apple Watch, as users first need to turn to their iPhones, input the address they want to navigate to, and only then be able to use Google Maps on the smartwatch. This isn’t necessarily the most convenient approach, but at least it works and gets you to the destination.
Like Apple Maps, haptic feedback is also offered, so you are alerted when you must take a turn or look at the watch for additional guidance during navigation.
Most likely, the experience with Google Maps on the Apple Watch would be further refined in the coming versions, but for now, it’s pretty clear that Apple Maps is a much better option in regions where the app offers up-to-date map data. Of course, those who aren’t fully committed to the Apple ecosystem can always switch to Android, as Google has prepared a pretty cool new Google Maps feature for users of its latest OS version.