Rumours point towards Google redesigning maps UI

Is Google gearing up to premiere a new Maps interface at next week's Google I/O?

The unofficial Google Operating System blog reported on Tuesday that the search giant is testing out a new look for Google Maps that sheds the traditional sidebar in favour of floating boxes on top of a full-screen map.

Information like location data, photos, and Zagat reviews look like they will be shifted from the immovable sidebar to a series of cards that hover over the screen, perhaps with the ability to click and drag across the page.

Those informational cards are becoming something of a Google staple, first seen in the Google Now application, and added to the recently revamped Google Play Store Android app, not to mention Google Glass.

Another rumoured change includes the ability to refine local search results based on places recommended by top reviews or those in a user's Google+ circles.

Based on the two screenshots published by the blog, the actual map won't change much, but the author pointed out that the update will create a more immersive interface that integrates well with mobile devices.

"Instead of focusing on navigational elements, buttons and sidebars, the new Google Maps focuses on the map," the blog said. Google has apparently also updated map colours, icons, and text styles.

Google did not immediately respond to ITProPortal's request for comment. Google I/O 2013 kicks off next Wednesday in San Francisco, so stay tuned for all the details.