Pokemon Go's newest update is here, bringing a variety of small changes to the game...and one big one. The much maligned "nearby tracker" has been given an overhaul, complete with new graphics and more functionality than the almost entirely broken tracker seen in the last update.
The most obvious change is that the nearby tracker window is now labelled "Sightings" and shows nearby Pokemon standing in front of blades of tall grass. The grass appears to be entirely cosmetic, but it's possible it could be a replacement for the "three footsteps" used to show how close Pokemon were in a future update.
More importantly, the "Sightings" window refreshes on a regular basis, adding new nearby Pokemon and removing Pokemon that have de-spawned. While the old system tended to accumulate Pokemon on the "Nearby" screen even after they de-spawned, the new tracker updates every 15 seconds with what Pokemon are closest. If you move too far away from the Pokemon or it de-spawns, the Pokemon will also drop off the screen.
Some players are reporting that Pokemon will move up and down the "Sightings" list depending on how close you are to it, but that hasn't been definitively confirmed yet. According to the update notes, not all Pokemon Go players have the overhauled tracker system, so it's possible that some players have more or less functional trackers.
While it doesn't entirely replace the classic "three step" system, the new tracker looks like a big improvement over the last update and will at least provide accurate data to players searching for Pokemon. It's also a sign that Niantic Labs is definitely building a new tracking system for Pokemon Go.