Google Maps gets a widget that starts you navigating right from the home screen
Widgets are making a big comeback with Android 12, and so far, we’re really liking what we’ve seen. Whether it’s playback controls for YouTube Music, links to your favorite websites in Chrome, or clocks designed to perfectly match Material You, it’s exciting to see home screen controls make a comeback. It’s looking like Google Maps might be next, offering shortcuts to nearby stores and your most visited locations.
Reddit user u/neilAndNotNail spotted this widget in Maps v11.3.0, the latest beta version of the app (via XDA Developers). It’s a grid-shaped control panel with shortcuts to personalized locations like Home and Work, along with nearby gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. A search bar along the top of the widget makes it easy to look for anything else that doesn’t fall under these presets.
It’s reminiscent of the Maps widget on iOS, albeit with more options depending on how it’s resized. The widget takes advantage of Material You theming on Android 12, rather than using a generic Google Maps look like its iPhone counterpart. According to XDA, the widget will eventually show up on Android 11 phones as well, using a standard blue hue in place of dynamic colors.
We aren’t seeing this update on our phones, even after installing the latest beta APK, so it’s likely a server-side change. If you want to make sure you’re prepared for whenever the widget is made available, grab the newest version of Maps from APK Mirror.