Google Maps now offers Street View in more than 3000 Indian towns.
“The expectations of users are changing… Global youth demand different things; in fact, they want information that is more immersive and visually appealing. For them, it is what is interesting. This tendency is becoming apparent everywhere in the world. Vice President of Maps Experiences at Google, Miriam Karthika Daniel, summarizes how Google Maps is evolving from the days when a basic map sufficed.
Voice and visual encounters are really valuable in locations like India. When it comes to voice searches, India leads the world. People find it much simpler to search using the colloquial language of their area. In an interview with IndianExpress.com, she stated, “We want to support more and more of these visual and immersive use cases,” and explained that Google has been able to introduce some of these use cases to India thanks to the implementation of Street View, which is currently available in over 3000 cities.
Google is launching Lens in Maps across 15 Indian cities by January 2024, allowing users to get more information about businesses on Android phones by simply pointing the camera down a street. This is in addition to using AI and imagery from local partners, Genesys International and Tech Mahindra, to enable Streetview. Likewise, for Android users, Live View Walking Navigation superimposes arrows, instructions, and distance markers on the Maps screen in more than 3000 cities.
Google has been mapping millions of kilometers of urban and rural roads as well as more than 300 million structures thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) mapping technology, which it has been employing “for nearly a decade.” According to a Google Maps blog post, this powers over 2.5 billion km of directions on Google Maps in India every day, serving millions of users and, on average, surfacing over 50 million searches in different languages. Google now has over 30 million companies and locations on its maps thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), allowing for over 900 million monthly connections between customers and businesses.
The blog article included Project Greenlight as an example of how AI technology has “made commute decisions more seamless, helping people choose the most time-efficient route with traffic predictions.” Project Greenlight examines traffic patterns to help cities optimize traffic flow at intersections.
Because there is a variety of vehicle modes and heavy traffic in India, ETAs include a little more error bars. As a result, we always have models that consider travel and travel outcomes. As Daniel put it, it is “continuously self learning and updating itself.” “What did we predict at the beginning of the trip and what was the outcome at the end of the trip,” Daniel clarified.
According to Daniel, Google Maps has the potential to expand its reach to several regions in Africa and Latin America with comparable traffic patterns, provided it can effectively tackle some of the issues in India. Teams in India are working to find solutions to these issues practically immediately. Subsequently, she stated, “We are doing that here because we think this is probably at its most complicated point right now.”
Google Maps will now include places of worship, hospitals, and government services in India, meeting the needs of the country specifically.
Additionally, it is leveraging them to introduce an innovation that is exclusive to India: address descriptors, which facilitate local users’ understanding of addresses more like they would in real life. In order to assist users in navigating through new places, Google Maps will automatically identify and share with others up to five of the most pertinent landmarks and area names surrounding the pinned address when a user drops a pin. Early in the following year, this feature will go live in 75 cities.
According to Daniel, in January Google Maps will also launch an AI-powered fuel-efficient navigation function in India. From its debut in other countries, from October 2021 through September 2023, it is already anticipated to have contributed to preventing more than 2.4 million metric tons of CO2e emissions globally—the equivalent of keeping nearly 500,000 fuel-based automobiles off the road for a year, according to the blog post. She added that in order to provide customers in Kochi and later cities with metro schedules and bookings, they are also collaborating with ONDC and the Namma Yatri mobility app.