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Google is making some big upgrades to directions in Google Maps

Google is making some big upgrades to directions in Google Maps


Indoor AR directions, a new directions interface, and more

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google is announcing a bunch of new features planned for Google Maps, including a new tool to help with indoor navigation and suggestions for eco-friendly driving routes. The features announced today aren’t rolling out all at once, though; many aren’t available just yet, and it’s unclear when some will be available in some parts of the world.

One of the biggest announcements is that Google is bringing its Live View augmented reality directions to airports, transit stations, and malls. Live View directions let you hold your phone up, point your camera at the world around you, and see arrows and icons pointing you where you need to go, and previously, they only worked outdoors.

Disappointingly, though, these indoor AR directions aren’t being rolled out very widely yet: they’re only available in some malls in Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle right now. Google will launch indoor Live View directions in select transit stations, airports, and malls in Tokyo and Zurich in the coming months, however, and more cities are “on the way,” the company says.

Google is also planning to revamp the interface for picking your mode of transportation for directions on Android and iOS. Right now, you have to toggle through different tabs to see more detail about different transportation options, but with this new interface, you’ll just scroll through a list. The company says Maps will even be able to prioritize the modes you prefer and put those that are popular in certain cities (the subway in New York City, 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’s optimized for lower fuel consumption. If the eco-friendly route has about the same ETA as the fastest route to a location, Google Maps will default to the fuel-efficient route, though you can change this in settings if you’d like. 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 you’ll be navigating through low-emissions zones, which don’t allow some vehicles with certain levels of emissions to enter. Google says these alerts will launch in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK on Android and iOS this June. More countries will get the alerts soon, according to Google.

Image: Google Maps

Google is also making 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 US.

Image: Google

Google also plans to pilot a new grocery pickup tool this summer with select Portland, Oregon-based locations of Kroger-owned grocery store Fred Meyer. The tool lets you share your location and ETA with the store via Google Maps so that your grocery order can be ready when you arrive.