At their developer conference this morning Google has announced a raft of changes and enhancements that will be arriving on Google Maps in the next 12 months — and that is after bringing over 110 AI-powered improvements in the past year.
The new changes focus on making Google Maps work for you, personalised data for when you need it, where you need it. The main changes that are set to arrive on Google Maps have used AI to create them and include a smoother ride with a focus on areas that people are braking harder, enhancements to Live View and more detailed street maps to include sidewalks, pedestrian crossings along with the shape and size of a road to scale, the ability to spot busy areas on a map with a single glance and a map tailored specifically to you.
Eco-friendly, safer routes
Using Google’s understanding of road and traffic conditions Google Maps will soon give you the option to take the most fuel-efficient route — based on the road and traffic conditions and the topography of the land.
Using AI, Maps will also be able to identify road, weather and traffic conditions, where you are likely to have to suddenly brake, hopefully reducing the number of traffic accidents. Each time you ask Google Maps for directions it calculates multiple route options based on several factors such as how many lanes a road has and how direct a route is. The new update will take the fastest route and predict which one is more likely to reduce your chances of encountering a “hard braking moment” — to get you to your destination safely.
Live View and Street Maps enhancements
The street maps enhancements that Google announced last year — show accurate road widths, along with details about where the sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian islands are — will be expanded to 50 more cities by the end of 2021. To do this Google has used AI, street maps and satellite and aerial images to not only account for local variabilities in the types of pedestrian crossings and how they are displayed but also to determine where they are and how big they are.
Other enhancements include the ability to access Live View right from the map — using a simple tap on the Live View icon. This will allow you to quickly and easily access details about shops and restaurants around you — it can also give you detailed information about your hotel and where it is in relation to where you currently are. Not only are key landmarks included but Google are looking to include indoor information in places such as airports, train stations, malls and more.
Virtual street signs are now also included on the roads in Live View giving you quick and detailed information about the street you are on and the one you are turning onto/crossing.
Area Busyness and a map tailored to you
When you are on holidays it is often best to visit areas when there are less people around. Now Google Maps will let you know with a single glance how busy an area is at that particular time — it can also help with less standing in line and to help you keep socially distant from others during this pandemic.
Google are also introducing a more personalised Maps experience by highlighting the most relevant places based on the time of day, whether or not you are travelling and what your preferences are. For example, if you open up Maps at dinner time it will surface restaurants based on where you are and your previous choices — or if you open it in the morning it will show coffee shops instead. If you are travelling it will also make it easier for you to spot local landmarks and tourist attractions.
There is no timeframe for when these new changes will be delivered to Google Maps but expect to see them on iOS and Android in the coming year.