iOS: Earlier this year, Google teamed up with Nintendo to turn Google Maps into Mario Kart, replacing the app’s usual location icon with a fist-bumping plumber riding a red go-kart. The crossover didn’t last very long, but Google is now bringing back some of that magic with a new update to the Maps app on iOS.
Photo: Visual Hunt
To unlock this feature, first make sure you’re running the latest version of Google Maps for iOS. Then open the app, pick a destination, tap over to driving directions and hit Start.
You should see the usual blue arrow hovering over your current location. Tap on it to pull up a new menu with three other cartoony options: a standard red sedan, a green pickup trick, and a yellow SUV.
For now, those are the only choices you have beyond the traditional location icon, but it’s possible Google could add even more vehicles and colours in the future. I’d also love to see similar cartoon images for biking, walking, and public transportation (and I wouldn’t complain if they brought back the Mario Kart option).
Of course, this is a totally cosmetic feature with no utilitarian benefits. It won’t help you get to your destination any faster or show you a better route (try Waze for that).
Considering how many people rely on Google Maps on a daily basis, though, it’s nice to know that the company is also working to make the experience a little more fun.