Google introduced a major update to Maps on Thursday, adding a slew of new features that make the app even more powerful.
The company has been working hard to bring AI intelligence into its suite of tools in recent months, so it’s no surprise that Google Maps is gaining attention in this area.
The new Immersive View for Routes feature, for example, uses AI to provide a detailed preview of planned trips.
“Let’s say you want to bike along the water to the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco,” says Google’s Chris Phillips a blog post outlines the new features. “Simply ask for cycling directions, then tap the Immersive View preview to see your route in a stunning, multidimensional view from start to finish.”
Phillips continues: “You can prepare for each turn as if you were there with detailed turn-by-turn visual directions, and use the time slider to plan your departure time based on useful information, such as simulated traffic and weather conditions. That way, you can easily avoid driving in rainy weather or heavy traffic.”
Google CEO Sunar Pichai also highlighted the new feature in a post on social media on Thursday:
Immersive View for Routes starts rolling out this week for Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tokyo, and Venice, with more More cities at launch were added as time went on.
Google has also launched Lens in Maps, a more advanced version of its existing Search with Live View feature. Lens in Maps uses AI and augmented reality to help you orient yourself when you arrive at a new destination. You can do this by simply selecting the Lens icon in the search bar and holding up your phone to find information about amenities like ATMs, transit stations, restaurants, coffee shops, and shops.
The app is also getting more detailed navigation maps for a smoother user experience, and provides more benefits for electric vehicle drivers by adding additional charging station information, “including whether the charger is compatible with their vehicle and whether the available chargers are fast, currently. , or slow to help you find the charging station that best suits your needs,” Phillips said.
Finally, the Maps search function has been further improved. Phillips explains: “Now, when you search for specific things in Maps like the best place to find ‘animal latte art’ or ‘pumpkin patch with my dog’, you’ll get the first photo results of what you’re looking for. These results are based on an analysis of billions of photos shared by the Google Maps community — all done with AI and advanced image recognition models. With this visual list of places, you can discover new places that match what you are looking for. Just scroll through the results, tap the photo to learn more, and navigate there.” Users in France, Germany, Japan, the UK and America can try out the new Google Maps search feature starting this week.