Do you still remember the time you were rushing with your baggage to catch a plane? You didn’t know exactly where your gate was, so you had to run around looking for maps always hidden away somewhere in the airport. Or think about the last time you tried to find a toilet in a shopping mall, you had to ask someone hoping they might know where. Now check this out: The upcoming feature of Google maps will help you navigate inside airports, train stations, and shopping malls. You just need to point your camera at the world, and the map will tell you where to go.
In a recent press briefing, Google unveiled a variety of new features, the coolest allows you to navigate indoors, which overlays digital guides on top of the real world showing arrows and markers on your phone to provide directions.
Google Maps has seemed satisfied being a map, a fancy map, but it’s still just a digitized map with navigation and few extras. Now, however, Google has revealed its future plans for the service, and among the promised changes, some could change the way you use maps.
How long do we have to wait? In Tokyo and Zurich it should be possible very soon, like in just a month or two. The update that enables the new functionality will be available for both iOS and Android, and Google plans to roll out similar functionality to the rest of the world in the years to come.
Judging from the current images and videos, it seems as if one should be able to get precise directions with digital lines and arrows on top of the actual image of the area, projected on the phone screen. Just imagine how convenient and straightforward it will be, especially for someone who has no sense of direction, like me.
Google says that this has been a great challenge to create, and requires very high location precision to be able to achieve. It is probably also reasonable to assume that it will be made available first in places that have good coverage for high-speed mobile networks. Google is aiming at shopping malls, airports, and public transportation centers for the first round.
Google is also focusing on environmentally friendly travel. Later this year there will also be an update that will let you choose “Eco-friendly routes”. Maps will always choose the route that is the best for the environment, judging from airborne dust, fuel consumption, or queuing. If the route increases the travel time considerably, you will get a warning and an alternative route that you would be faster but slightly less environmentally friendly.
In the upcoming Google Maps update you will be able to see both air quality and weather directly on the map, along with future forecasts for both. You can avoid travel if it is raining or there are large amounts of pollution in the air. Google plans to roll out this function in Australia, India, and the United States first and promises that it will be supported in many other countries.
In their press release, Google’s representatives addressed that the main focus of the updates in the coming months is to make Google Maps more than a service to get you from A to B. They will integrate food delivery and restaurant reservations, hairdressers, and several other services. Prices, availability, and other information will be directly available in the app.