Google Maps is rolling out new features that include mapping out an eco-friendly journey for you and guiding you through indoor locations such as airports and malls.
The new features are among over 100 AI-powered improvements to the app that Google says it’s on track to make this year.
The app will default to guiding you through a route with the least carbon footprint as long as it’s roughly the same ETA as the fastest path to your destination.
The factors that the algorithm will consider are road incline and traffic congestion for optimal fuel consumption. It will show you the CO2 impact between the eco-friendly route and the normal route. If you still prefer to speed up your journey, then you can adjust the settings to show the fastest route as default.
Google said the feature will launch in the US on iOS and Android later this year, “with a global expansion on the way.”
Google is also adding alerts to Maps that show drivers when they’ll be navigating through low emission zones and whether they are allowed to navigate through it.
The tool will launch this June in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and the UK. It will be available in other countries a little later.
Another feature Live View will help you navigate indoor locations. The feature adds digital directions to videos captured by your phone’s camera to show exactly where you should be going. It was earlier launched in 2019 as city-street navigation feature. The update expands it to airports, transit stations, and malls. In a blogpost, Dane Glasgow, VP of Product at Google Maps, explained how the feature will be useful:
If you’re catching a plane or train, Live View can help you find the nearest elevator and escalators, your gate, platform, baggage claim, check-in counters, ticket office, restrooms, ATMs, and more. Arrows and accompanying directions will point you the right way. And if you need to pick something up from the mall, use Live View to see what floor a store is on and how to get there so you can get in and out in a snap.
Indoor Live Live is now available in some malls in the US in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Island, Seattle, and Newark, New Jersey. It will start rolling out in select airports, malls, and transit stations in Tokyo and Zurich in the coming months, “with more cities on the way.”
Russell Dicker, a Google Maps director of product, in an interaction with journalists, said that the AR feature will help users find a range of things indoors, such as a baggage claim, lounges, terminals, or a train platform at a transit station, which is a great time saver for people in a hurry.
Google’s great inventory of street maps has made it possible to offer these location features. Its Live View has built up on outdoor inventories. Google Maps uses machine learning to determine which details are likely to be helpful for locating and matching. Google said the indoor version of Live View also takes into consideration the user’s altitude and where objects are inside a building. It then matches your location with an overlay of virtual images to help you find your way to your destination.