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Google Maps expands eco-friendly routing to dozens of European countries

Google Maps new features from Google I/O 2022
(Image credit: Google)

Update (September 8, 3:30 am ET): Google Maps brings its eco-friendly navigation feature to European countries, alongside an option to set your engine type to get the most fuel-efficient route.


Google Maps is getting a big update in the near future that'll allow users to see not only where a restaurant or scenic landmark is on the map but to view the place in full 3D right on their smartphone. Google's presentation showed how easy the new immersive mode can make it to properly scope out a restaurant before driving all the way there, and it looks like it's a lot more effective than relying on just user-submitted photos.

The best part is that you won't even need one of the best Android smartphones (opens in new tab) to utilize this powerful feature, thanks to Google Cloud immersive stream. That means what you're seeing is being rendered in the cloud rather than on your smartphone.

Google will be rolling out this new feature later this year to Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. More locations are planned for the future and we expect those will be announced as they become available. Google announced this and another important new Google Maps (opens in new tab) feature at Google I/O 2022 (opens in new tab).

Google Maps immersive view of London

(Image credit: Google)

That second announcement is the wider availability of efficient routes, which you'll see in the photo below. Efficient routes were already available in the U.S. and Canada, but Google is rolling it out to more locations — like Europe — and to more people to help folks save money (and the environment) by taking the route that uses the least gas. Normally, that means avoiding traffic and trying to stay on routes that have fewer stops and more fuel-efficient speed limits.

(Image credit: Google)

(Image credit: Google)

Lastly is the addition of Google Maps Live View technology, which can make looking for seats at a stadium or finding the restroom in a store a bit easier. Live View lets users hold their smartphones up to see the world through the camera of their smartphones, with the smartphone adding helpful virtual hints on the screen like arrows or text.

Google added this new development tool to the ARCore (opens in new tab) Geospatial API and will allow more developers to integrate quality AR experiences into their apps. ARCore works on all modern Android phones so, once again, you won't need just a powerful device to get the experience. All in all, these features add up to a more helpful Google Maps for all.

Update

Google Maps now offers eco-friendly navigation in European countries, allowing you to find driving routes in nearly 40 countries that will help you reduce fuel consumption.

According to Google's blog post (opens in new tab), the feature has helped "remove more than half a million metric tons of carbon emissions" since it was launched in the United States and Canada.

The navigation app has also added an option to select your engine type to get the most fuel-efficient route. Google is rolling out the new feature in Europe, the U.S., and Canada over the coming weeks.

Google combined information from Google Maps driving trends with data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the European Environment Agency to develop machine learning models that provide "accurate fuel or energy efficiency estimates" for drivers.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu
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