Google Maps is getting a new update that aims to help users better navigate through crowded areas. The search giant has drastically improved its transit crowdedness predictions to make travel for people using public transport safer than before. Google Maps is also providing a Timeline Insights tool that will show users a history of where they’ve travelled on a monthly basis. The navigation app from Google will also provide COVID-19 information, let users make reservations in advance, and make payments directly from the app.
Through a blog post on July 21, Google detailed all the new features that the update for Google Maps is bringing to its users. One of the most important features for Google Maps is the expansion of transit crowdedness predictions that was first introduced in 2019. It now expands to over 10,000 transit agencies in over 100 countries to tell its users if the mode of public transport they are going to take is empty or crowded.
Google Maps says these predictions have been made possible using “Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, contributions from users, and historical location trends that predict future crowdedness levels for transit lines all over the world.” The search giant also mentioned that the predictions were developed keeping user privacy in mind. Google Maps is currently piloting this feature in New York City and Sydney, with more cities being added to the list soon.
Another feature mentioned in the blog post is the Timeline Insights tool announced exclusively for Android earlier this month. This tool gives the month-by-month travel history of users. It tells users notable places they’ve visited, the vacations they have taken, and they mode of transport taken — car, public transit, aeroplanes, walking, or cycles. It also tells users how much time has been spent in different locations.
Users will also be able to view the trips and vacations taken by users on Android devices. Users will be able to make a list of the places they’ve visited and share them with friends as recommendations. This data is available under the Trips tab in the Timeline. Additionally, Google Maps will let users leave detailed reviews for other users to make an informed decision when visiting a new restaurant. Users can answer few questions in simple steps. It is live for users on Android in the US and will roll out to iOS users soon.
Furthermore, another Keyword blogpost mentions that users will be able to view cases in an area using the COVID-19 layer for Google Maps introduced in September last year. Users will also be able to make reservations with participating businesses via the app. Upcoming reservations can be managed via the Saved tabs in the Google Maps app. Lastly, users will also be able to make contactless payments for public transit and parking meters directly from the app.