Google Maps just got lot more useful for indoor navigation thanks to AR
What you need to know
- Google has announced a ton of new features that will be coming to Maps later this year.
- You can now navigate more easily indoors with Live View.
- Google is also adding a new routing model that is optimized for lower fuel consumption.
Google rolled out a major redesign for Maps last year, along with a bunch of other improvements. This year, the tech giant aims to introduce over 100 AI-powered improvements to make one of its best Android apps even more helpful to users around the world. The company today announced a few useful new features that are soon coming to Google Maps.
Google is adding Live View AR directions to malls, airports, and transit stations across various cities around the world. Thanks to Live View, you can now navigate indoors much more easily. Live View uses AI to scan "billions" of Street View images to determine your orientation and point you the right way. Indoor Live View will be rolling out on both Android and iOS today in malls in Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.
The other new addition is a new weather layer that will help you plan ahead. In addition to the current and forecasted temperature and weather conditions, the new weather layer will also show you air quality information in an area. Google is partnering with The Weather Company, AirNow.gov and the Central Pollution Board to source data for the air quality layer. The new weather layer will be available globally, while the air quality layer will initially be available only in Australia, India, and the U.S.
You'll also soon be able to find more eco-friendly routes to travel to your destination in Google Maps. Google is working on a new routing model that is optimized for lower fuel consumption and utilizes insights from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab. Once the new routing model rolls out, Google Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint, as long as it has roughly the same ETA as the fastest route. However, you will be able to change this and have Maps default to the fastest route by adjusting your preferences in Settings. Eco-friendly routes will be available in the U.S. on Android and iOS later this year.
In addition to eco-friendly routes, Google is also working on low emission zone alerts, which should prove very helpful for users in cities that have low emission zones. These alerts will start rolling out in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and the UK this June. Google says the feature will expand to more countries around the world "soon."
To make grocery pickup easier, Google is joining hands with supermarket Fred Meyer to pilot a new feature in select stores in Portland, Oregon that will let users share their arrival time with the store. Google says this will help the store prioritize the order and ensure that it is ready as soon as users get there.
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