Google Maps announces additional features to help people navigate better on their trips
By V. Sudhakshina
Bangalore, December 13 2016: These days any journey to any new or unknown destination is incomplete without Google Maps. While most of us are aware of certain features like route tracking, traffic updates, distance and time taken to travel, voice-guided navigator, there’s much more to Maps than these features.
Did you know that you can just not find your destination, but also get details such as contact number, address, website and working hours of the particular place you plan to visit? You can also figure out the nearby traffic status from your current location and plan your travel accordingly or search a place using the nearby landmark, road names and signage. The search engine giant has also added a few additional features to Maps.
We went on a mini road trip last week with Sanket Gupta, Product Manager GoogleMaps, to get a firsthand experience of trying out new features as well understand the existing ones better.
Multiple Destinations: A long road trip is never about going from destination ‘A’ to ‘B’. There are multiple stopping points like restaurants, shops, popular tourist attraction on the way, etc. GoogleMaps has recently added the ‘Multi-stop directions’ feature, which allows one to add multiple destinations to your journey.
To set it up you need to open the app and press the right corner menu, and then click “Add stop”. You can also rearrange the order of your stops by holding on the three dot menu to the left of “Add stop” and drag it to the position you want. You can add as many stops as you like and once you’re done, tap “Finished” and your multi-stop routing is complete.
Book a Cab: GoogleMaps has a new option that lets you hire a cab through its app. When you search for your destination you will find this option along with the existing driving, public transport, or walking options. You need to have the respective cab service provider’s app installed. You will get information on the fare estimate, pick up time and if a car is available near you. Currently the services are available from Ola and Uber.
Go Offline: This feature has been available for quite some time now and is highly useful while traveling with slow or no connectivity. Users can download a route map, for example Bangalore to Mysore and save it to their device. You also have the option of saving it on your memory card. Once saved, you can access the route without any Internet connectivity. The app also reminds you to update the offline maps once in 30 days. You can set the update while connected to Wi-Fi. The only downside is you wouldn’t get any live traffic updates along the route.|
Search Along the Route: If there’s a sudden medical emergency and you need to find a chemist or the fuel tank need refill and you don’t know any gas station near buy, this is when the search along the route feature comes handy. You can just search your requirement and the app will then show you how long a stop will add to your trip while keeping you on your route. According to Sanket, Google Maps has plans to tie up with the Ministry of Urban Development to identify and add restrooms or public toilets for tourist. This would be a helpful addition. Google already gives you the list of restaurants, hospitals, ATMs, etc.
Be a contributor and earn rewards: If you are an expert explorer, traveler or navigator and have new information to share about places then you can contribute it to the Maps. You can review, add pictures and virtual tours of the places you visit and earn rewards like 100 GB storage for 1 year and exclusive invitations to events. You can also list and give information about any new place which isn’t already there on Maps. Google will verify your information and add it within 24 hours. To do this you need to tap on the left side menu bar and select ‘Local Guide’ option and it will list and ask you to review, share photos of the recent places you have visited.