Google Maps Adds Navigation Bubbles

If you navigate with Google Maps today, you may notice a small but handy change that has come to the app:  Navigation bubbles.  Now when you are in navigation mode, you will see a small bubble with street names of where your next turn is as you go to your destination.  It is a visual cue to back up the audio cue you receive as you navigate and is particularly handy if you don’t use the audio turn-by-turn navigation.  The nice thing is that this new feature is already built into the most current version of Google Maps so no new app update is required.  This all happened on the backend at Google.

These new navigation bubbles have actually been in Maps since the v9 release in February but they have only been available to a limited number of users.  That, presumably, was so Google could continue to test them, tweak them and make sure all was good before unleashing them on the masses.  Google seems to be satisfied as it has rolled out more broadly now.  Not everyone is seeing it just yet as they are still rolling the update out.  You will know if you have it simply by starting a navigation to a location.  There is no settings to adjust, the new navigation bubbles will simply

Navigation Bubbles in Google Maps
Navigation Bubbles in Google Maps

appear along your route and you will see the next 2 or 3 in your navigation displayed.

If you don’t see them, the update hasn’t rolled out to you just yet but should over the next few days.  Also, make sure you are on the latest version of Google Maps from the Play Store.  This update will only work on the v9 release of Maps so if you haven’t updated the app in a while, make sure you do that first.