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Get around and explore with 5 new Google Maps updates

Illustration of people walking around a street with buildings that have information about their busyness, ratings and hours posted.

From the very beginning, we built Google Maps to help you connect with the real world. In 2007, we introduced Street View, the first imagery platform to show you panoramic views of streets all over the world — from Tokyo to Tonga. A year later, we let you throw away your printed directions and get real-time navigation directly from your phone. And three years ago, we were the first to launch Live View and bring AR to navigation at scale. Thanks to our deep knowledge about the world and powerful AI advancements, we’ve spent the last 16 years bringing helpful information and experiences just like these to the map. Today at Google I/O, we’re announcing five new updates so you can more easily navigate, explore and get things done.  

Reduce hard-braking with routing updates

Imagine you’re driving to meet a friend. As you approach a busy intersection, the traffic slows suddenly and you have to slam on your brakes. According to research from experts at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, these hard-braking moments — incidents along a route that cause a driver to sharply decelerate — can be a leading indicator of car crash likelihood. Soon, Google Maps will reduce your chances of having hard-braking moments along your drive thanks to help from machine learning and navigation information.

Here’s how it works: Every time you get directions in Maps, we calculate multiple route options to your destination based on several factors, like how many lanes a road has and how direct a route is. With this update, we’ll take the fastest routes and identify which one is likely to reduce your chances of encountering a hard-braking moment. We’ll automatically recommend that route if the ETA is the same or the difference is minimal. We believe that these changes have the potential to eliminate 100 million hard-braking events in routes driven with Google Maps each year, so you can rely on Maps to get you from A to B quickly — but also more safely.

Walk this way with enhancements to Live View and detailed street maps

If you’re getting around on foot, we’ve got you covered with augmented reality in Live View. If you’re exploring a new neighborhood, you’ll be able to access Live View instantly — right from the map — and see helpful details about the shops and restaurants around you, like how busy they are, recent reviews and photos. We’ll also display helpful new street signs for complex intersections so you know exactly what road you’re on and which way to go. And if you’re traveling, Live View will tell you where you are in relation to places like your hotel — so you can always find your way back to home base.

  • A GIF of Live View being used to explore restaurants in a New York City neighborhood

    Access Live View right from the map to quickly learn more about a place. 

  • A GIF of Live View showing street labels overlaid on Google Maps with augmented reality

    See street labels in Live View to help you navigate complex intersections.

  • A GIF of Live View showing where you are in relation to a nearby hotel with augmented reality

    See where you are in relation to places like your home, work or hotel. 

Our detailed street maps feature, which launched last August, will soon be available in 50 more cities by the end of this year — including Berlin, São Paulo, Seattle, and Singapore. With the help of AI and our understanding of cityscapes around the globe, you can see where sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian islands are, along with the shape and width of a road to scale. This information can help pedestrians plan the most accommodating route, especially if they’re using a  wheelchair or stroller.

A GIF that shows what Google Maps looks like before and after detailed street maps

Detailed street maps are expanding to 50 more cities globally. 

Spot busy areas at a glance

Each day, more than 80 million people turn to live busyness information on Google for specific places to save time waiting in line and stay socially distanced during the pandemic. Now, this is expanding to show the relative busyness of an entire area, like whether a neighborhood or part of town is busier than usual. If it’s Saturday morning and you want to explore your city without crowds bogging you down, open up Maps to instantly see busy hotspots to avoid — like the streets near the local farmers’ market. On the flip side, if you want to check out popular parts of town, use area busyness to scope out lively neighborhoods at a glance to discover interesting things to do.
A GIF of Google Maps that shows that the area near the Spanish Steps in Rome is busier than usual

Use area busyness to quickly identify where crowded areas are in a city. 

A map tailored to you

Having information about the world is useful, but it can quickly become overwhelming if it’s not delivered at just the right time. To help you make sense of it all, we’re tailoring our map to highlight the most relevant places based on time of day and whether or not you’re traveling. If you live in New York and open up Maps at 8 a.m. on a weekday, we’ll prominently feature nearby coffee shops — instead of dinner spots — so you can start your day with a caffeine fix. And if you’re on a weekend getaway, it’ll be easier to spot local landmarks and tourist attractions right on the map. Want more options? Tap on any place to see similar places nearby.

A GIF that shows coffee spots in NYC in the morning, and dinner spots in the evening

See relevant places based on time of day and whether or not you’re traveling. 

No matter where you’re headed or what your plans are, Google Maps has the information you need along the way and the AI smarts to get you there. All of these features start rolling out globally on Android and iOS in the coming months, with detailed street maps coming to 50 new cities by the end of the year.

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