Google is announcing a number of new features planned for Google Maps, including a new tool to help with indoor navigation and suggestions for eco-friendly driving routes. However, the features announced today do not roll out at the same time; Many are not available yet, and it is unclear when some will be available in some parts of the world.
One of the biggest announcements is that Google is bringing its augmented reality directions in Live View to airports, transit stations and malls. Live View guidelines allow you to hold your phone up, point the camera at the world around you, and see arrows and icons pointing you where you need to go, and previously they only worked outdoors.
Disappointing, but these indoor AR instructions are not being rolled out very far yet: they are only available in a few malls in Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle right now. Google will launch Live View directions at select transit stations, airports and shopping malls in Tokyo and Zurich in the coming months, and more cities are “on the way”
Google also plans to modernize the interface to choose directions for directions on Android and iOS. Right now you need to browse different tabs to see more details about different transport options, but with this new interface, you will only want to browse a list. The company says that Maps will even be able to prioritize the modes you prefer and put those that are popular in certain cities (the New York City subway, for example) higher up the list. This new interface is set to roll out globally in the coming months.
In addition to the directions interface, Google is adding a new type of driving route that is optimized for lower fuel consumption. If the eco-friendly route has about the same ETA as the fastest route to a place, Google Maps will be the fuel-efficient route by default, but you can change this in the settings if you want. Google plans to make these new fuel-efficient routes available on Android and iOS in the US later this year and globally at an unspecified time in the future.
The fuel-efficient routes aren’t the only eco-friendly updates for Maps: Google also plans to introduce alerts that will tell you when to navigate through low-emission zones, which do not allow any cars with certain levels of emissions to enter. Google says these alerts will be launched in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK on Android and iOS in June. More Google will get the alerts soon, according to Google.
Google is also creating new map layers for weather and air quality that are set to roll out in the coming months on Android and iOS. Google plans to launch the weather layer globally and launch the air quality layer first in Australia, India and the United States.
Google also plans to try a new grocery retrieval tool this summer with selected Portland, Oregon-based locations for Kroger-owned grocery store Fred Meyer. The tool allows you to share your location and ETA with the store via Google Maps, so that your food order can be ready when you arrive.