Google Maps recently added a trio of new features for global users and today, Maps is adding new features specifically for users in India. According to Google, it “continues to focus on unlocking the immense power of digital mapping with AI”, along with the support of the local partners, to deliver richer solutions that can benefit everyone.
Introduction of Address Descriptors
Address Descriptors on Google Maps is an India-first innovation. It has been made to help the users understand addresses better, in a way they are used to in real life. Using a combination of machine learning signals Google Maps will automatically find up to five of the most relevant landmarks and area names around your pinned address, and display the landmark reference when you share your location.
This will make it easier for users to locate these addresses in unfamiliar areas. Google will roll out this feature to users across India early next year.
Lens in Maps
Now, users will be able to easily understand their surroundings with Lens in Maps. With this feature, you can simply point your camera down a street and you will instantly see nearby restaurants and cafes, as well as useful information like opening hours, ratings, reviews and photos. Lens in Maps will be launching in 15 cities across India by Jan 2024, starting with Android.
A part of Lens in Maps is Live View walking navigation to India. With this feature, you will see arrows, directions, and distance markers overlaid on the Maps screen, helping you quickly figure out which way to head in. Your phone will also vibrate when it’s time to make a turn or you’ve reached your destination. Live View walking navigation is coming to over 3,000 cities and towns in India, beginning with Android.
Next up is fuel-efficient routing which will be available by January 2024. Users across India will be able to access this feature for four-wheelers as well as two-wheelers. India and Indonesia will be the first countries in which it’ll be rolling out this feature for two-wheelers.
Google is using AI to understand real-time traffic data, road elevation, and even the user’s vehicle’s engine type, to identify the route that minimises fuel and emissions. For instance, hybrid and electric vehicles perform better in stop-and-go traffic, while diesel engines use less fuel at higher speeds. Google will be able to show you routes that will be apt for your vehicle which helps save fuel and encourage sustainable route choices, without significantly impacting travel time.
Where Is My Train App Now Available In New Cities
Google further announced the expansion of Where Is My Train app as a part of the new Google Maps features for India, to cover Mumbai and Kolkata Local Trains, with more cities to come soon. Google says that the Where Is My Train app is being user by over 80 million users monthly to navigate intercity train journeys, enabling people to access dynamic information like schedule changes, delays, and platform numbers, which might not be easily accessible otherwise.
Partnership with ONDC & Namma Yatri
Finally, Google announced a partnership with the ONDC network and Namma Yatri in India amongst the new Google Maps features. “We’re collaborating with ONDC as they digitize public transport at scale. To bring this vision to life, we are announcing a partnership with Namma Yatri, a leading mobility app on the ONDC network, that will focus on bringing metro schedules and bookings to users”, said Google.
By mid next year, Google will launch Kochi metro on Google Maps powered by Namma Yatri, and follow with other metros as they join the ONDC network.