When you think about “MapQuest,” you might consider it a company of yesteryear, crushed by Google Maps’ popularity.
Despite its fall from top-dog status, MapQuest is actually still the #3 mobile map app, according to data from ComScore.
Even with the high ranking, the app wasn’t great, admits Brian McMahon, general manager of MapQuest.
“We know that people trust us,” McMahon says (after all, before Google Maps hopped on the scene, it was the most popular desktop map service and a well-known name).
So the company decided to raise the stakes. MapQuest rebuilt its app from scratch — a nine month endeavour — and the new version launches today.
And, honestly, it’s pretty impressive.
MapQuest’s new user interface is beautiful and the app is optimised for ease of use, customisation, and safety of use for drivers.
Some interesting features:
- You can see what’s around you. Use the “layers” option to search by a variety of different categories (including coffee, bars, gas, parking, and banks) and the app will display local options. You can even create custom categories.
- You will get traffic updates if you’re driving. The app shows you if you’re approaching light or heavy traffic, and will give you the option to re-route (and tell you how much time you’d save if you do).
- The app works more like a standard GPS system. It will display or “speak” the next two directional moves, so you always feel prepared for what’s ahead. Plus, you can favourite your home or work addresses to save time.
The only major flaw in MapQuest’s new app? Although it has the standard walking or driving options, it hasn’t rolled out a public transportation route-finder. At least not yet.
Using the layers feature, you can search by an extensive list of categories (and customise your own -- like if you wanted to see all the nearby Starbucks, for instance).
When planning your route, you have more options than you do on Google Maps. It's much more like a traditional GPS.
The app indicates light traffic with yellow and heavy traffic with red. Your ETA is always being adjusted and you can see where on your route you're likely to hit traffic.
The app will suggest re-routes if the traffic is very bad. It will tell you how much time the alternate route would save, so you can decide if you want to take it or not.
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