Google has finally released the immersive Google Maps views it promised in May, along with a few other useful features for cyclists and group travelers.
First announced at the Google I/O 2022 developer conference, the immersive visualizations will combine Street View, satellite and aerial imagery from Google Maps to create 3D recreations of landmarks. This first iteration of the feature is currently incomplete but still supports over 100 locations in major cities including London, San Francisco and Tokyo.
Eventually, the feature will go beyond traditional landmarks and be used to bring local points of interest such as restaurants to life to give potential tourists a better feel for the place they want to visit.
This comes as Google is trying to fight apps like TikTok and Instagram, which have become the most popular tools for young people looking to discover new places, ahead of Google services.
With Instagram itself capitalizing on this trend with its own searchable maps feature, we’ll have to see if the immersive views of Google Maps and other future features will be enough to win back lost users.
Improved bike navigation
Google Maps is also getting better navigation tools for cyclists. While Maps has long offered bike navigation, this update aims to make it more like car navigation by giving cyclists more information about their route.
Specifically, this means cyclists will be able to see whether their route is affected by car traffic, as well as whether the route includes bike lanes, how steep or windy a route is, and what type of roads they will be riding. Users can use this information to choose alternative paths; in some cases, Google Maps will offer users multiple possible routes in addition to the fastest ones, including a path with more bike lanes or one that requires fewer turns.
Location sharing updates
Google is also updating location sharing. Now, in addition to sharing your location, you can send ping notifications to a friend to let them know you’re leaving a location and automatically send another one when you reach your destination. The app will also be better at warning you that you left the feature on if you didn’t set a time limit when you started sharing your location.
If you think location sharing and other updates are cool features, here are some other hidden Google Maps tools you might not know about.