Google Maps directions received a significant update that caters to people who don’t want to drive or use public transportation for their commutes. The feature comes in handy during the coronavirus pandemic, as some people may be actively avoiding crowded means of transportation.
The new direction feature targets cyclists, as Google Maps directions now support docked bike-sharing services. The navigation experience will include walking information to and from the closest bike-sharing station.
Google Maps uses a combination of machine learning, complex algorithms and understanding of real-world conditions based on imagery and data from government authorities and community contributions.
Starting from Tuesday, when people look up biking directions, they will see end-to-end directions that include “docked bike-share” information in 10 cities globally as per Google’s blog post.
Steps will include detailed walking directions to bike-share stations near your starting point along with live bike availability, turn-by-turn cycling directions to the bike-share station closest to your destination with live dock availability and walking directions from there to your final destination.
“As biking habits change, especially as things evolve with COVID-19, we’re constantly updating this information to help you uncover the most reliable bike route,” said Dutta.
- Chicago, U.S. (Divvy/Lyft)
- New York City, U.S. (Citi Bike/Lyft)
- San Francisco Bay Area, U.S. (Bay Wheels/Lyft)
- Washington, DC, U.S. (Capital Bikeshare/Lyft)
- London, England (Santander Cycles/TfL)
- Mexico City, Mexico (Ecobici)
- Montreal, Canada (BIXI/Lyft)
- Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (Bike Itaú)
- São Paulo, Brazil (Bike Itaú)
- Taipei and New Taipei City, Taiwan (YouBike)
Google is actively working with additional partners to bring this functionality to more cities in the coming months.
As more people choose to cycle, they’re buying new bikes, fixing up old ones and turning to bike-sharing options. In fact, worldwide search interest for e-bike repair near me’ hit an all-time high this month, more than double what it was last yearVishal Dutta, Product Manager, Google Maps.
With bike-share providers seeing sharp increases in usage during Covid-19, “it’s even more important to quickly and easily check how many bikes are available at the station you’re headed toward and if there are docks available to drop off your bike near your destination”. Google introduced biking directions in Google Maps 10 years ago. Now, it’s available in nearly 30 countries around the world and millions of people use it every day.
In other Google related news, Google has launched Shoploop, a new interactive video shopping platform, and Area 120 experiment. In this platform brands and influencers can create short videos showcasing a product and provide a direct link to buy it. Currently only available on mobile web, it aims to combine ads, tutorials, reviews, and shopping in one platform. Shoploop is more interactive than just scrolling through images, titles, and descriptions on a traditional e-commerce site.