Google Maps wants to offer users more practical information including eco-friendly transport options

·2-min read
Google Maps will soon launch new filters related to air quality and weather.

Google has announced its roadmap of changes for Maps this year and it's a busy one. Its many new features will allow users to benefit from information on the weather and air quality, and to take advantage of more environmentally friendly travel routes. In total, a hundred improvements, mainly based on artificial intelligence, will be integrated into Google Maps in 2021.

Find your way around inside buildings

Soon you'll be able to pinpoint exactly where you're going inside airports, train stations and shopping malls. Live View, a technology that allows you to see on screen, in augmented reality, the direction to take for your journey in a real environment, will soon be extended to building interiors, in order to easily find a store, a boarding gate or simply a washroom. This feature is already available in the United States in some shopping malls. During the year, other places like airports or train stations, notably in Tokyo and Zurich will also be mapped in this manner.

Weather conditions and air quality

In a few months' time, Google will inaugurate a new weather layer on Maps. It will allow users to quickly see the current weather and temperature in a specific area, as well as the forecast for the next few days. Another layer, dedicated to air quality and different levels of pollution, will also be launched, first in a test phase in the United States, India and Australia.

Greener route planning

Google will also encourage greener travel by automatically highlighting the route with the lowest carbon footprint. To do this, Google takes into account several parameters, such as fuel consumption based on factors like the degree of a road's slope or slowdowns due to traffic jams. Bicycle routes will also be highlighted. If the "eco-friendly route" increases your estimated time of arrival considerably, it will of course still be possible to switch to the fastest mode of transport.

Information on low-emissions zones

From Paris to Jakarta to Amsterdam, an increasing number of large cities are setting up low-emission zones, which restrict access to certain vehicles deemed too polluting. Starting in June, Google Maps will issue alerts to let drivers know whether or not their vehicle is allowed to enter a specific zone. If necessary, the application will suggest a new route or an alternative via public transport.

David Bénard