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New features coming to Google Maps include indoor directions, eco-friendly routes, and more

By Kenny Yeo - on 31 Mar 2021, 9:24am

New features coming to Google Maps include indoor directions, eco-friendly routes, and more

Google Maps is about to look a lot different and get a lot more helpful. That’s because it’s getting a bunch of new features including indoor navigation, air quality updates, suggestions for more eco-friendly routes, and more. And while this all sounds very exciting, these updates will not be coming all at once. Instead, they will be rolled out slowly region by region. Let’s go through some of the new features now beginning with indoor navigation.

 

Indoor AR directions

Indoor navigation at work. (Image source: Google)

The big announcement is arguably indoor navigation using AR. Once this feature is supported in the locale, you will see directions overlaid on your camera, better helping you navigate in complex indoor spaces like transit stations, airports, and malls. 

And while this sounds very helpful, it won’t be widely available. Google says this feature is currently available in select malls in the US on Android and iOS, and will be rolled out to select places in Tokyo and Zurich in the coming months. Folks who have been to Japan will know how handy this can be given the country’s labyrinth-like JR stations.

 

Revamped direction interface

New directions interface. (Image source: Google)

Google Maps is also changing the way it shows you directions. Instead of having to scroll through different tabs, it will now show you directions in list. The idea being that a list is quicker to scroll through. Google Maps will even prioritise modes that are popular in certain cities (for example the metro in Tokyo) and also according to your preferences.

 

Eco-friendly route suggestions, low emission zone alerts

Google Maps will display more eco-friendly routes. (Image source: Google)

On top of the new directions interface, Google Maps will help users be more environmentally conscious by showing driving routes that are more fuel-efficient. The more fuel-efficient route will be the default if it has roughly the same ETA as the fastest route, but you can change this in the settings if you prefer always being shown the fastest route. Again, this feature is coming to Android and iOS in the US first later this year and then globally later.

Users will also get alerts if they are driving through low-emission zones. Some countries/cities in the world prohibit cars that are deemed too polluting to enter. This feature will launch in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and UK on Android and iOS in June.

 

Air quality information

New weather and air quality layers. (Image source: Google)

And finally, there will be new may layers showing weather and air quality on Android and iOS. The weather layer is rolling out globally while the air quality layer is coming first to Australia, India, the US, and the rest of the world.

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