Google is adding a slew of new updates for Maps, including a few AI-powered features that are designed to make it easier for users to search, explore their surroundings and get to their destinations. The company is making it easier to find specific items near you and find inspiration for things to do, rolling out navigation interface updates, giving EV drivers more information about chargers, expanding previously announced features to more cities and more.
Google’s machine learning algorithms are also improving other parts of the Google Maps experience, including its Search function and the AR-powered ‘Lens in Maps’ feature, which overlays useful labels on buildings you’re pointing at with your phone’s camera. To put it briefly, Google Map is going to become even more helpful, regardless of whether you’re an electric car driver or a lost pedestrian. These are the five major AI-powered updates that will be released, along with an estimated release date.
Immersive View for Routes
Since its announcement in May 2022, Google Maps’ Immersive View feature has been frustratingly slow to roll out. However, the feature is starting to become more widely available, and this week, 15 cities will see the release of the more recent Immersive View for Routes on Android and iOS. If you haven’t tried it, Immersive View combines Street View, satellite, and live data to create a real-time aerial view of famous landmarks in supported cities. In May, Google announced Immersive View for Routes, which gives you the same impressive visuals for any routes that you’re planning, making it much more useful.
Enhanced Maps Search
Though Google remains the dominant search engine, Google Maps’ search feature isn’t as strong as it could be. However, this week will see a change in that. Google has announced two updates to address the millions of broader searches it receives for “things to do around me” and “animal latte art” in Google Maps. The first is photo-first search results, derived from an AI-driven examination of billions of images uploaded by Maps users. Rather than simply showing you cafes with ‘animal latte art’ in their name or reviews, it’ll use this image analysis to give you a list of photo-based results, too. Pick your favorite from the images and it’ll give you more info and directions. This feature is rolling out this week in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan.
Clearer Driving navigation
If you frequently use Google Maps as your in-car navigation system, you’ll be happy to learn that there will be some navigation enhancements soon—at least in the “coming months” In addition to some more realistic buildings to help you figure out exactly where you are, Google claims that these enhancements will include “improved lane details” (like the one below) to help you know when to get off the highway. These Maps navigation improvements for drivers will be rolling out in the “coming months” in 12 countries, including the US, Canada, France, and Germany. That timeframe can mean a wait of 3-6 months, but it’s something to look out for.
Google Maps’ AR mode spreads its wings
Did you know that Maps has a built-in Google Lens feature that can label things around you using your phone’s camera? This used to be called ‘Search with Live View’, but Google now calls it ‘Lens in Maps’ – and this week the feature’s coming to over 50 new cities. If you’re feeling completely bamboozled in a new area, it’s a handy feature – just tap the ‘Lens’ icon in the Google Maps search bar on Android or iOS. That opens a live camera view, so you can spin around and see what Google Maps has labeled in your immediate surroundings, like restaurants, ATMs, stations, or landmarks.
More helpful EV charger
If you have an electric car, you’ll have been happy to see Google Maps’ recent improvements to its charging station information – and that info will soon be getting a lot more detailed and useful. Later this week on Android and iOS, Google says its charging station information on Maps will now include whether a charger is compatible with your car and how fast the chargers are, too.