What you need to know
- An upcoming update to Google Maps will display estimated toll prices for trips.
- Soon users will be able to view traffic lights and street width for better navigation.
- Google is also releasing new features for iOS and Apple Watch devices, including new widgets and untethered navigation.
- Toll prices will roll out in April on iOS and Android phones, with iOS-specific features arriving in the coming weeks and months.
The shortest road may not always be the fastest, but oftentimes the toll road is. That's why Google is making it easier to check toll prices ahead of your next commute or trip, in addition to new features rolling out for iOS and Apple Watch devices.
In a new update coming soon, users will be able to view estimated toll prices on Google Maps. When mapping out a route, Google will take several variables into account, including the day of the week, available payment methods, and the price of crossing the toll at a specific time of day. The estimated toll prices are based on information from local tolling authorities, which should help make the information more accurate.
This way, you can plan ahead and decide whether it's worth it to take the toll route or the toll-free route. This may also help you compare toll routes for a potentially cheaper option, which could help you better plan your trip.
Of course, Google will also display toll-free routes if they're available, and for those of you that would rather avoid tolls altogether, you can always adjust your Google Maps settings so it will avoid them. Just tap your Google Account thumbnail and navigate to Settings > Navigation settings and toggle on "Avoid tolls." Or, before you start navigating to your destination, tap the three-dot menu at the top right, select Route options, and tap "Avoid tolls."
Google says toll prices will be available this month for iOS and the best Android phones. Google Maps will display prices for nearly 2000 toll roads in the U.S., India, Japan, and Indonesia, with more countries to follow.
In addition to toll prices, Google is adding more information to your commute and will start displaying traffic lights and enhanced building outlines. Select cities will also display the shape and width of roads so you can have a better idea of where you're going.
This will be available "in the coming weeks" on mobile devices and on in-car systems like Android Auto and CarPlay.
Google is highlighting new navigation features for iOS and WatchOS devices, including new widgets, integration with Siri and Spotlight, and more. This should make it easier to navigate just from your home screen, iOS Shortcuts, or just by asking Siri.
Lastly, Google is making it easier to navigate with the Apple Watch by allowing navigation directly from the watch without first starting navigation from the iPhone. A new "Take Me Home" complication will also be added for quick one-tap navigation home.
New WatchOS features will be available "in a few weeks." The new iOS widgets will arrive in the coming weeks, with Maps integration arriving in the coming months and deeper Siri integration coming later this summer.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.