Google unveiled several new features for its Maps app that utilize AI to improve and expand the user experience. The new features include an updated Live View that gives AR walking directions in large indoor spaces, eco-friendly map routes meant to reduce carbon emissions, in-app weather forecasts, and curbside delivery integration. Overall, Google says it aims to roll out more than 100 AI-based updates to Maps by the end of 2021. Here’s how a few of these new features work.
The updated Live View provides users with AR navigation in large indoor spaces like malls or airports.
New “eco-friendly” options use AI to suggest less carbon-intensive routes.
Google Maps’ dominance among navigation apps and high user base makes it a consequential test bed for new artificial intelligence-backed features. In August 2019, Google led all major navigation apps across iOS and Android in monthly unique visitors (126.2 million), according to Verto Analytics data on US smartphone users. By comparison, Apple Maps, which comes pre-installed on Apple devices, had just 29.3 million monthly unique visitors in the same period. While all major navigation app usage dipped during the pandemic, these new features could further entrench Google’s dominance in the space as use returns to pre-pandemic levels.