Which way to the future?
Google Maps is revving up for the rollout of significant, artificial intelligence-fueled improvements in the weeks and months to come.
Already popping up for some users, the five new AI-backed features will allow users to “confidently plan and navigate trips, make sustainable choices, and get quick inspiration for things to do,” according to Google.
Here’s what to look for as the changes come online.
Users will be able to see a more detailed preview of every part of a trip, whether driving, walking or cycling.
All you have to do to see your entire route in a multidimensional view is select the directions you want and tap the Immersive View preview.
There are visual turn-by-turn directions and a time slider that assists in planning when to leave, based on information such as simulated traffic and weather conditions.
According to Google, iOS and Android users can experience the feature right now for trips in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tokyo and Venice.
Lens in Maps
Lens in Maps — formerly called Search with Live View — uses AI and augmented reality (AR) to help you get a sense of your surroundings and get acclimated.
Tapping the Lens icon in the search bar and lifting your phone will give visual information about nearby ATMs, transit stations, restaurants, coffee shops and stores — whether you’re in a new city or looking for a new local spot.
Lens in Maps is rolling out to more than 50 new cities including Austin, Las Vegas, Rome, São Paulo and Taipei in the “biggest expansion of this feature yet.”
Google Maps Navigation
Navigation in Google Maps will soon more accurately reflect the “real world,” thanks to AI. The update will include enhanced colors, more realistic buildings to help orient yourself and updated lane details to help prepare for “some of the trickiest driving maneuvers” on highways.
These updates will be rolled out soon in 12 countries, including the US, Canada, France and Germany.
Just for the US, the navigation will inform if there are any HOV lanes on your route. For Europe, AI-powered speed limit information will be expanding to 20 countries.
Electric Vehicle charging station information
Electric vehicle-driving road-trippers will never have to worry about finding their next charge again.
Drivers will now be able to see more information such as whether a charger is compatible with their vehicle; if the available chargers are fast, medium or slow; and when the charger was last used, all which will help avoid wasted time and disappointment.
The update has begun rolling out “wherever EV charging station information is available.”
Google Maps Search
Google Maps’ updated search option will help users “find inspiration in a whole new way.”
Looking for specific things will produce photo-first results based on analysis of billions of photos provided by the community in Google Maps. Just tap on a photo to learn more and go from there.
The feature started rolling out in France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US, and will expand to more countries over time.
Also, if you’re bored and unsure what to do, you can type in “things to do” to see a list of thematic results that you can even save to check out later. This feature that is rolling out globally within the coming weeks.