Overnight, Google has announced a new set of features for Maps are on their way, including indoor Augmented Reality (AR) directions and the option to use eco-friendly routes when navigating.
The Indoor AR directions build on the Live View feature Google first brought to maps back in 2019. Live View displays direction information on your phone screen to direct where you’re going, a feature Trevor found very handy when he first tried it out in San Francisco.
The Indoor AR directions will use Global Localisation tech which can tell which floor you’re on, and which way you’re facing. Using this information, maps will direct you to where you need to go in airports, transit stations and malls, though this feature is currently only live for a few shopping centres in the US right now.
Google says the indoor directions for transit stations, airports, and malls in Tokyo and Zurich will go live in the coming months, with other cities ‘on the way’.
It’s disappointing to see this isn’t coming to Australia just yet, but hopefully Australia will be in the group of ‘other cities’ this will roll out to soon.
A feature which will be going live in Australia is the new weather and air quality layer which will show current and forecasted weather conditions, along with air quality wherever Air Quality Index (AQI) stations are available.
Also coming to Australia are the new eco-friendly navigation options. Google Maps is one of the best at directing you where you need to be, and now it can do it in the most environmentally friendly way possible. According to Google, the new navigation options use ‘a new routing model that optimizes for lower fuel consumption based on factors like road incline and traffic congestion’. Neat.
Once you have your directions, Google Maps will also now make it easier for you to choose sustainable transportation options. Using the new directions experience, you can compare all the routes and modes of transportation available to you from cycling to public transport and even just walking, all without changing tabs.
Google is also bringing the Assistant Driving Mode, which launched in the US last November to Australia, as well as 12 more countries. Assistant Driving Mode will let you communicate more from the Maps Navigation screen, letting you use your voice to ‘send and receive calls and texts, quickly review new messages across multiple messaging apps in one place, get a read-out of texts, and more’.
Google also announced that they will show Low Emission Zone alerts in countries which have implemented low emission zones. This update will let users know what modes of transport are accepted on the route. At this stage, this one appears to be aimed mostly at European cities, so don’t expect this option to pop up in Australia just yet.
There will also be pickup and delivery information for retailers launching showing ‘important details about service provider options, pickup and delivery windows, fees and order minimums right from Search and Maps for select retailers’. Again, there’s no plans for an Australia launch, but this could be a handy tool when shopping, so hopefully we’ll see this info hit our shores soon.
Google generally does launch Maps features in Australia, mainly due to Maps being developed here prior to their acquisition by Google. Hopefully we don’t have to wait long to see these features, so keep your Google Maps app up to date and check back.