The Google Maps Update You Never Knew You Always Needed

06.14.21 07:19 PM By Joseph Danzer


In the May 2021 I/O conference for developers, Google announced updates to its Google Maps platform that will take your next ride to the next level. Check out our take on the latest changes below.

No whiplash here: Braking Forecasts

The first major update that Google announced was its use of AI to better understand, predict, and alert drivers of areas that are known for “hard-braking events.” These events happen when drivers need to suddenly stop, slam on brakes, or have accident-prone driving behaviors. On the road, this might look like complicated intersections, roads with low visibility, or confusing lane-changes or merging areas. These hard-braking events often cause traffic accidents, injuries, or slow travel times for drivers.

Using AI technology, Google has identified these areas and made data about them visible on Google Maps--and is even offering driving directions that avoid these hard-braking areas. By doing this, Google estimates that it can “eliminate over 100 million hard-braking events in routes driven with Google Maps each year.”

In addition, the experts at Google are looking at adding other similar hazards or driving precautions to its Google Maps platform to offer even better driving options. For instance, if data shows that many cars often brake on a certain highway due to harsh sunlight, it can alert drivers that their route will include this section of road and offer alternative routes.

More realistic maps for safer, easier commutes

Many people, especially those who live in urban areas, rely on Google Maps for biking and walking directions to get to their destination. The little blue dot (if you know, you know) has helped thousands of people find their way through a new city or vacation spot. Now, Google Maps is making the navigation experience even better for advanced uses that will benefit drivers, bikers, and walkers alike.

In its previous forms, Google Maps presented roads and streets as similar in size and feature. The difference between one large, main street and a smaller side street could be difficult to judge at a glance, making quick navigation a challenge. Now, with clearer, more detailed and more colorful maps, the navigation experience is getting even faster and easier.

As seen via the image below, the newest layers of Google Maps will include relative sizing of streets, clearer depictions of sidewalks and crosswalks, and more accurate layouts of intersections. In the end, it becomes much easier and faster to determine your location and your route on the enhanced maps.



Questions about how to make Google Maps work for you? Contact Advanced Online Insights to get the conversation started!