New Google Maps feature will help you brace for wildfire season

Google Maps Dark Mode Pixel
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is adding a new air quality layer to Google Maps on mobile devices.
  • The new layer will display the Air Quality Index (AQI) based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency and PurpleAir.
  • Users are already able to view air quality information on Nest Hub devices.

Summer is just around the corner, so many areas are getting ready for wildfire season. This can lead to a drop in air quality, which can negatively affect your health. Fortunately, Google Maps is gaining a new feature to help you stay aware of the air quality around you.

This week, the company announced that it's adding a new Air Quality later to Google Maps on iOS and Android phones. Users can view the Air Quality Index (AQI) on various points of a map while also receiving guidance on outdoor activities. Users will also have access to helpful links to better explain air quality and can view when the information was last updated and by which agency.

Google Maps Air Quality Index

(Image credit: Google)

Google worked with agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and PurpleAir to display air quality information on Maps. The company says working with PurpleAir provides plenty of local data points thanks to its low-cost sensor network.

Owners of Google's smart display devices like the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) already have access to air quality information from PurpleAir, thanks to an update last year. However, bringing this information to mobile devices will allow quick checks while out and about, letting people view air conditions before arriving at their destination.

Google notes that searches for "Best air filters for wildfire smoke" and "Best mask for wildfire smoke" have doubled in the U.S. over the last year, and it hopes this feature will help users make safe, informed decisions. The search giant encourages users to utilize the Wildfire layer in Google Maps to better ensure their safety, or they can search for "Wildfires near me" to view more information.

Google also plans to add smoke data to the U.S. in the coming months.

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.