Google Drive fueled with Chrome extension, Maps now charted for Uber

Following a bite-sized treat for Calendar and a gorge of new goodies for Cloud Platform, Google is sprinkling updates across a number of apps this week.


Google's latest upgrades this week can be found on both mobile and desktop devices, from the cloud to the open road.

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For road warriors, Google Maps for both Android and iOS is getting a major overhaul to bring the digital mapping service in line with Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The most obvious difference is a much more visually-heavy user experience embellished with rich images and bold swaths of color.

The mobile Maps upgrade also consists of two new features being piped into the system: OpenTable restaurant reservations and Uber’s wait time and fare estimates.

While the influx of more data into a centralized app might delight or terrify certain users depending on their preferences, Google Maps UX Designer Evelyn Kim hinted in a blog post on Wednesday that such features might come in handy especially during the imminent winter season.

"On a cool winter day, a chilly walk or train ride may not always be the most appealing choice," Kim wrote. "Travelers deciding whether they should take an Uber or brave the frosty winds can now see estimates for Uber’s pickup time and price for their route in walking and transit directions in Google Maps."

For those chained to their desks, Google Drive is being re-fueled with a new Chrome extension that enables users to open and edit files from Google Drive directly in an application installed on his or her computer.

Google Drive product manager Rachel Barton suggested in a separate blog post that these apps could range from advanced image and video editing software to accounting and tax programs to 3D animation and design tools.

"So, no matter what you keep in Drive, using the web to access and manage files doesn’t mean you’re limited to using applications that only work in your browser," Barton continued.

Google Apps users can access the new function by installing version 1.18 of the Drive app for Mac or PC.

The Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered corporation has been sprinkling upgrades left and right this week.

On Monday , the influence of Lollipop made itself known elsewhere in the Google mobile app portfolio, starting with Google Calendar.

Ready for integration with both Gmail and Inbox apps, the big revisions for Calendar include automatized input for calendar events and an enhanced schedule view as well as more relevant images of the locations and themes.

That was followed by a deluge of new additions and upgrades for Google Cloud Platform on Tuesday.

At the forefront were the debuts of Google Cloud Interconnect, touted as a network designed to serve as the "backbone" for Internet-scale apps and enterprise IT architectures, and Container Engine, a system for running and linking app components running on individual virtual machines to launching portable Docker containers.

Google vice president Brian Stevens stressed at the one-day cloud summit in San Francisco about Google's aim to deliver cloud services rapidly that don't slow developers down but also answer to industry trends and disruptions.

Image via Google