Google Maps beta adds satellite startup option, smarter lists, and several other tweaks

Living with the beta version of Google Maps is a great way to test out the latest features that sometimes come down the road rather quickly.

This time there are several new tools to play with that impact everything from what the map looks like when it starts up to how your trip planning goes.

The Settings menu is one place to start, because from there you can enable Maps to start up in Satellite view. If you got tired of switching back and forth and prefer this outlook, this will be a welcome change.

Google Maps can now start you out with a satellite view of the globe.

Another small but helpful addition is a new set of lists to be found when looking up a restaurant or other venue. The links are collections that might showcase similar places worth checking out.

Lists can give you extra details about similar places to check out.

I found more of these in restaurants and cafes in larger cities, so don’t expect every Maps listing to have them.

Finally, there’s a smoother experience for adding a stop to a route. Despite running the latest beta, I wasn’t able to pull this up on my phone, although the folks at Android Police were able to capture it.

Android Police

The interface for adding another stop to your Maps route is a little cleaner now.

The functionality is still the same, however, in that when creating a navigation route you can add in some places to stop along the way.

The impact on you: If you like the features you see here, it may be worth grabbing the Google Maps beta. There’s always the chance it’s a little rough around the edges, but you’ll be the first to score new features before they hit the stable app or even the web-based version for the desktop.

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