Google is expected to launch a revamp of its Maps service at its I/O developers conference this week, and buzz is building about a redesign ahead of the company’s opening keynote Wednesday afternoon.
Rumors started percolating last week, when the Google-focused blog Google Operating System reported that the company would launch a more engaging, more social version of Maps. It would highlight a place a users’ Google+ friends have mentioned in their feeds, in its directions results.
Those rumors got some more steam Tuesday night, when the tech blog Droid Police posted what it claimed were screenshots from a Google site that went live — and was quickly taken down — that gave users a glimpse at how Google may make over its popular Maps service.
The shots show a version of Google Maps that takes up more of a user’s screen. Text on the site indicates that Google searchers will see more map integration in the company’s normal search product.
The shots at Droid Life also suggest that the company is incorporating its Flight Search tool more closely into Google Maps, by including a flight option along with the walking, driving, public transit and biking instructions offered on Maps searches.
The service also will supposedly learn as you use it more often. For instance, it would pull in information from your reviews into your results to suggest places you might like to eat at on your way home.
As CNET noted, Google has been tweaking its maps over the years, adding information such as live public transportation updates and, in D.C.’s case, alerts, as well as high-resolution images for certain parts of the world.