Google Maps is getting a ton of new features – here’s what to expect and when


Google Maps is easily one of the company’s most successful products. The era of using a paper guide or MapQuest linear directions, follow them or get lost, is long gone. And while some competing services like Apple Maps may look prettier, Google Maps is king when it comes to features, tools, and service integrations. But the best of the best are getting better this summer, and Google is rolling out a handful of new tools and tweaks, like indoor AR navigation, weather and air quality information, grocery pickup integration, and adjustments to reduce your deaths. carbon footprint of the car burning dinosaurs.

For starters, Google Maps offers its indoor AR navigation live display, starting with “a number of malls” in Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle, as well as airports, shopping malls and transit stations in Tokyo and Zurich in the coming months. Like Live View’s exterior counterpart, this means you’ll be able to select a destination (like the airport gate in the GIF above) and get easy visual directions you can follow through an AR augmented view of the environment.

Google Maps is also picking up two new specialized layers that can help people with allergies, or even just those hoping to avoid bad weather on a long drive. The air quality and weather layers are self-descriptive and display information for each, taken from partner sites such as The Weather Company and in a visual overlay. This means you can see if a given route is the right one for a convertible downhill, or determine whether you should avoid the park on the way to work if the pollen is bad, or avoid a specific mountain road if the smoke is bad. . The new layers will be rolled out on Android and iOS “in the coming months”, with the weather layer available worldwide and air quality limited to Australia, India and the United States to begin with. .

Over the past year or so, many of us have started using services like curbside grocery pickup and delivery, and while it may be a bit late, Google Maps is rolling out new ones as well. features for supported partner retailers like Albertsons and services like Instacart, with more scheduled later (although no timeline was specified). You will be able to see the pickup and delivery windows, the delivery providers for a given store, and information such as charges and order minimums. The new information will also appear in the search profiles. A new pilot program for Fred Meyer locations in Portland will also allow Maps to provide notifications for curbside pickup and even notify the store of your arrival, starting this summer.

Finally, Google is rolling out a handful of interesting changes along the lines of the recent EV-oriented Google Maps tweaks. As before, most of the changes come from AI-powered changes, but they will help you reduce your carbon footprint without costing you more time.

Google is rolling out a new route planning model later this year that takes into account details like the incline of the road and traffic to better determine its efficiency, rather than just looking at the time spent in transit. In cases where a green route is the fastest way, Google will push you towards the latter, saving the world a little more CO2. and saving you a few dollars potentially rising in fuel costs. If the green route takes longer, Google will still present it as an option on the map with an easily spotted leaf icon so you can choose for yourself. There is even a new route selection interface that will be rolled out “in the coming months” that will help you better choose between modes of transport, reminding you that there are other ways of getting around than your car. While Google’s ML-based model always pushes the mode you prefer, sometimes it’s nice to remember that you can walk or cycle somewhere nearby.

Some countries have vehicle restrictions in place for certain areas, declaring them low emission zones where certain types of vehicles cannot be used, and Google Maps will also support notifications for those areas in June.

As stated several times, the timing for these different Google Maps features varies wildly, but most of them should be available by the summer, and that should come in handy once we all get vaccinated and catch up. furiously the last year lost.

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