Google is making Maps even more helpful than it already is. At Google I/O 2021, the company announced a series of updates to Google Maps that will make it more helpful in day-to-day life, and improve features like the AR view that Google launched in Maps last year.
Perhaps the most notable change to Maps is that Google is adding more detail to the service. For example, Maps will now show users where things like crosswalks, street signs, and intersection markers are straight from the normal map view. As noted by Google at the event, this could be very helpful for parents with strollers, those in a wheelchair, or those that just want to plan their exact walk. The more detailed view was actually already announced by Google in August, but is more rolling out to 50 more cities around the world.
A more detailed view in more cities isn’t the only update to Google Maps. Google is also helping users find out more about how busy a location is before they get there. Google has already allowed users to see how busy it thinks a business will be on a given day or time, straight from Search or in Maps. Now, it’s expanding that feature to show how busy a whole area might be. You’ll be able to see the busyness of an area in the normal map view, and Google will highlight areas that are busier than usual.
At Google I/O three years ago, the company launched Live View, which allows users to get directions in augmented reality in Google Maps. At Google I/O 2021, the company announced that the feature is now available in over 100 countries, including large cities and rural towns. Soon, users will be able to access Live View straight from a map itself with the tap of a simple button. Not only that, but as announced earlier this year, Live View is coming to indoor spaces like airports and malls, which will help users find businesses, airport gates, and so on.
Google wants to make Maps a little more helpful for drivers too. Google is improving Maps to route away from so-called “hard braking” areas — where drivers might have to slam on the brakes due to suddenly slowing traffic. Google Maps will now calculate multiple routes and determine the best route based on factors like how many lanes are available and how direct a route is.