Wednesday, 31 March 2021 03:50

Google redefines what a map can be with new info and AI Featured

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Overnight, Google announced a raft of new AI-powered tools coming to Google Maps to help you get the most accurate, up-to-date information about the world, exactly when you need it, and published a blog post with images, gifs and examples of the new features in action.

In a blog post titled "Redefining what a map can be with new information and AI" by Dane Glasgow, the VP of Product, Google Maps, said: "Sixteen years ago, many of us held a printout of directions in one hand and the steering wheel in the other to get around— without information about the traffic along your route or details about when your favourite restaurant was open.

Since then, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of what a map can do, propelled by the latest machine learning. This year, we’re on track to bring over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps so you can get the most accurate, up-to-date information about the world, exactly when you need it. Here's a snapshot of how we're using AI to make Maps work better for you with a number of updates coming this year."

As is often the case, not every feature is coming to Australia - often many mapping features come to the US first, with a subset in other countries, but the features usually do get rolled out eventually.

The headline features are as follows, with the ones coming to Australia clearly marked:

- Indoor Live View: Using AR and Street View imagery, you’ll be able to navigate airports, train stations, and malls.

- Coming to AU - New Weather and Air Quality Layers: See current and forecasted weather conditions, along with air quality wherever AQI stations are available.

- Coming to AU - Eco-friendly routes in driving navigation: Thanks to a new routing model, Google Maps will automatically default to the route with the lowest carbon emissions footprint if it has roughly the same ETA. If the eco-friendly route increases your ETA significantly, you can choose between the fastest route or the one that's more eco-friendly.

- Low emission zone alerts: Get an alert when you’ll be driving through a low emission zone so you can quickly know if your car is allowed in in the area, select another mode of transportation, or take another route.

- Coming to AU - New directions experience: We’re making it easier to choose sustainable transportation options - compare all routes and modes of transportation to a destination – including cycling, transit and walking options – without toggling between tabs. Maps will also boost routes and modes you’re likely to be interested in.

- Pickup and delivery actions: See important details about service provider options, pickup and delivery windows, fees and order minimums right from Search and Maps for select retailers.

- Pickup with Google Maps Pilot: In partnership with The Kroger Co. (an American grocery retail company), Google says it piloting an easier way to pick up your groceries curbside.

- Coming to AU - Assistant Driving Mode Expansion: Use voice to send and receive calls and texts, quickly review new messages across multiple messaging apps in one place, get a read-out of texts, and more — all without leaving the navigation screen. Expanding to new languages and 13 new countries around the world.

So, you can see there's several features Australia and other parts of the world don't get, but in time, we'll hopefully have them all, too.

The full blog post titled "Redefining what a map can be with new information and AI" has all the images, gifs and details to show the new features in action, along with the features available in the US that aren't available to Aussies, yet.

Here's an animated GIF of "choosing an eco-friendly route":

Here's an animated GIF of what Indoor Live View looks like, which isn't launching yet in Australia:


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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