It seems there’s a visual revamp for Google Maps underway, which you might have already noticed on your phone – and the new color scheme being used on the maps makes the interface look a lot more like Apple Maps.

Google hasn’t said anything officially yet, but 9to5Google and others (including some of the TechRadar team) have noticed the refresh. At this stage it’s not clear if the new look is being tested or is here to stay.

Rather than white roads and a gray background, Google Maps has now switched to gray roads and a white background, like Apple Maps. The blue of oceans and lakes has been brightened too, which again evokes the rival mapping app.

Greens are darker too, while navigation uses a dark blue route arrow rather than a lighter blue one (which can turn yellow or red, depending on traffic). There are tweaks in the app to the bottom bar as well, with a smaller series of tabs under the map.

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Google Maps on Android Auto

The new interface on Android Auto (Image credit: Future)
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Google Maps on Android Auto

The old interface and color scheme on Android Auto (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Maps on Apple CarPlay

Apple Maps on CarPlay (Image credit: Future)

Three-year cycle

As Ars Technica points out, we haven’t seen a visual refresh like this for Google Maps since 2020. The one before that was 2017, so if this is indeed a permanent change, then it would fit in with the scheduling of previous updates.

Not everyone has the update yet, according to Android Police, so it would seem to be a staggered roll out that isn’t hitting all devices at the same time. If you haven’t got it yet, try updating the Google Maps app on your phone.

As for the adoption of the Apple Maps color scheme, it’s pretty obvious – but no doubt the focus groups run by both Apple and Google have come to the same conclusions about what colors work best for the human eye when it comes to maps.

Similar looking apps have another benefit for Google and Apple too: they make it easier for people to switch. If Google makes any official announcement on any of this, we’ll update this article to reflect that.

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