Google gradually upgrades and improves its native apps, especially on Android. Now it’s Google Maps’  turn. The new widget the app is about to receive will provide quick access to traffic conditions in your area; a necessary thing if you often launch Google Maps just for this. Like the entire service, it will be available for free.

What is a “nearby area”? It depends on how far you plan to go. Google comes with a nice solution for this: the size of this “nearby area” is zoomable. So you can change its size simply with two fingers, like you usually do. And you don’t have to launch the app for that; it implies it’s running in the background, so it may affect your battery (though usually it’s not much of an issue).

The widget will look like a square with rounded corners. It’s not clear yet whether users will be able to adjust its size. With this sort of widget, this will be one of the most useful abilities, as a larger widget will cover larger areas if necessary.

In its blog post, Google emphasizes that the widget will show its users more than just the current situation. Its algorithms also predict the nearest future of traffic, using years of observations. Users’ feedback can help further improve this feature.

The widget will become available in several weeks. If you haven’t activated automatic updates, do it or check for updates manually not to miss this new feature. If you have, check for available widgets; after the update, the new widget will be available for regular installation. And make sure you have enough free space on your home screen, as making another one for this type of widget contradicts the very idea of quick access.

How useful do you consider this widget? Do you think traffic predictions will work correctly? Does size matter? If you have something to say, welcome to the comments section where you can speak your mind!