To help iOS users plan trips more easily and preview their routes before they arrive, Google Maps is adding a number of new artificial intelligence features.
Apple Maps may come pre-installed on an iPhone, but Google Maps is a strong substitute that links into a user’s Google account and network. Google is the preferred option for many map power users because it tends to concentrate on a broader range of features like social aspects or integrated experiences like trip planning.
In the upcoming months, a new feature of Google Maps will be accessible in 12 countries, including the US, Canada, France, Germany, and Germany. Immersive View for routes is the main AI-powered feature, and it promises to facilitate trip planning, encourage sustainable decisions, and offer instant activity inspiration.
The tool, which was shown at Google’s I/O event earlier in 2023, provides a completely new method for users to preview a journey, regardless of whether they are cycling, walking, or driving.
Immersive View for Routes
As Google puts it, picture yourself wanting to ride a bike down San Francisco’s shoreline to the Palace of Fine Arts.
Users can see a multidimensional preview of their full route from start to finish with Immersive View. This enables them to provide precise, visual turn-by-turn guidance, enabling people to get ready for each turn as if they were already there.
The time slider, which allows users to schedule their departure based on simulated traffic and weather conditions, is what makes the feature unique. This implies that you can simply avoid leaving during rainy weather or periods of heavy traffic.
This week, the Immersive View feature for routes—which is compatible with both Android and iOS—is being released in the following cities: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tokyo, and Venice.
Lens in Maps
Once at a location, Google Maps also helps users understand their surroundings better. Another feature in Maps, called Lens (formerly known as Search with Live View), uses artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality to help users quickly adapt to their surroundings. This is useful for travellers who are leaving a tube station and need to orient themselves or for anyone exploring a new neighbourhood and looking for the closest coffee shop.
Users can get information on ATMs, train stations, restaurants, coffee shops and retail establishments in the vicinity by tapping the Lens icon in the search bar and lifting their phones. Lens in Maps will be accessible in more than 50 new cities this week, including Austin, Las Vegas, Rome, Sao Paulo, and Taipei, as part of the feature’s largest installation to date.
More details in maps
The navigation map will soon provide a more true-to-life representation of the world. In addition to the map’s updated colours, users will notice more realistic-looking structures to aid in better orientation. This is helpful, for instance, when driving through a downtown area and wanting to determine where you are at the end of the journey.
To make drivers feel more prepared, improved lane details will also be shown for tricky driving conditions on highways, such as difficult exits requiring fast lane changes.
Soon, users in the US will be able to see if HOV lanes are present on the routes they have planned, giving them more information to help them plan their travels more wisely. In the meantime, 20 European countries have adopted the AI-driven speed limit feature, which enables drivers to maintain safe speeds even in low-light conditions.
Information for electric vehicles
Building on Google’s current in-car capabilities, users of Android and iOS who drive electric vehicles will start to benefit from improved charging station information this week. The new capabilities will help consumers choose the best charging station by showing which chargers are compatible with certain vehicles and classifying available chargers as fast, medium, or slow.
Furthermore, the site will show customers the last usage time of each charger to help them avoid going to a broken station, since about 25% of all US chargers are not working at any one time. This week, these improvements are being rolled out anywhere that information on EV charging stations is available.
New ways to search
In order to give travellers even more information, Google is also improving the search features in Google Maps. Users searching for certain searches on Maps, such as “best place for animal latte art” or “pumpkin patch with my dog,” will begin to see results that are visually appealing this week.
These results are the result of billions of photographs uploaded by the Google Maps community being analysed by AI and advanced image recognition models. Users can locate locations that exactly fit their criteria with the help of the visual directory.
The results can be slid through, an image can be clicked for more details, and users can go straight to the place of their choice. It will first be available in France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US, with ambitions to expand to more nations in the future.
Soon, more methodically structured search results will be available on Google Maps to help people come up with new ideas and plans when they’re not sure what to do. An example of a theme search might be “things to do” in Tokyo, Japan; it would return results like “anime,” “cherry blossoms,” or “art exhibitions.”
These themed search results for things to do and places to eat will be available to iOS and Android users globally in the coming weeks.
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