Google Maps just got a whole lot more useful — and probably a whole lot more monetizable.
Google announced today that it has updated Maps with support for multiple destinations, flight, hotel, and restaurant reservations, and upcoming events such as concerts.
With the update, it’s now easier to add three or four legs to your trip, or even more if it’s a major journey. For tourists particularly, Google has included the capability to drag and drop destinations so you can play with a different order of events, selecting the one that minimizes travel time and maximizes sightseeing.
In addition, Google has added a new “view carousel,” in which you can see Street View shots, photo tours, and “other imagery” of the destinations you’re plotting. That’s clearly a major upgrade, and it’s extremely useful — previously, you would have needed to get out of context and into another page to view images of your waypoints.
If you use the entire Google stack of consumer solutions, such as Calendar, Google is integrating what it knows about you into your mapping experience, and you’ll see your reservations for flights, hotels, and restaurants right within the mapping interface, as you search for routes to relevant airports and restaurants.
And if you happen to want to know what sporting or concert entertainment events are happening nearby, Google’s got you covered there as well with a new “Upcoming Events” card that will show local stadiums, theaters, and other performance venues, with details on current events.
Put it all together, and Google Maps has just gotten a lot more interesting and useful.
In addition, however, Google is also prepping maps to be much more monetizable, with all kinds of options such as making reservations and buying tickets clearly becoming more and more likely, and with even more advanced scenarios such as booking flights (using Google Flight Search capability) and reserving hotels (using Google Hotel Finder) right inside Google Maps also looking not just possible, but probable at some point.
Which means the day that you can book your entire vacation right at maps.google.com — or in the Google Maps app on your smartphone — is probably not that far away.