Since last year, Google has been continually updating its iPhone and iPad apps with homescreen widgets. Google Maps is now the latest with version 5.74 seeing a pair of useful iOS widgets.
The first is a standard search widget called “Find places nearby.” Google has used the same layout for the Search app and Chrome. It starts with a pill-shaped search field that directly opens the app and keyboard.
Meanwhile, there are shortcuts for “Home” and “Work” addresses to quickly get directions. Lastly, Google Maps offers others for Restaurants, Gas, Groceries, and Coffee that will start a nearby search in your current location.
The second Google Maps iOS widget is “Know before you go.” It lets you “Check latest traffic conditions, see location details, store opening times, restaurant reviews, and more.” The 1×1 square primarily shows a map of your current location with the traffic layer enabled.
Before today’s update, Google Maps supported the previous widget format and offered four: Traffic, Transit Departures (nearby stations), Travel Times (to home and work), and Local Guides. The functionality of Traffic is present today, but the others have yet to be migrated.
Release notes for version 5.74 do indicate that Google plans to add more Maps for iOS widgets:
In this release, we’re launching our first set of Home Screen Widgets to help you plan and navigate to your destination.
Compared to Android, the widgets on iOS are more interactive. The first-party platform uses widgets as shortcuts for specific directions, launching driving mode, location sharing, and jumping to the nearby traffic view inside the app.