Good News for Google Maps Users As New-Gen Features Now Available for More

Fuel-efficient routes expanding to more regions 19 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
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Google Maps and Waze might look like two very similar products, but their focus is completely different. Living proof is a recent Google announcement that clearly highlights the direction Google Maps has embraced.
The search giant uses Google Maps as a key part of its strategy to offer more sustainable means of transportation, whereas Waze will retain its focus on traffic navigation.

Google Maps already offers fuel-efficient routing, and Google now says that the feature will expand to new regions later this year.

Fuel-efficient routes are offered as alternatives to the fastest route, taking into account details like constant speeds, the number of hills, and traffic conditions to determine if a route allows for significant fuel savings.

Google's purpose is to reduce each vehicle's carbon footprint, and according to the company's statistics, the project works like a charm. Since its debut in October 2021, fuel-efficient routing has helped reduce carbon emissions by 2.4 million metric tons, which, according to Google, is the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars with combustion engines off the road.

The fuel-efficient routes debuted two years ago for users in the United States and are now available in Europe, Egypt, and Canada. Google promises to launch it in India and Indonesia by December 31. It will also support two-wheelers in these two countries, considering that many people in these regions use a motorcycle.

Google isn't stopping here and says it'll also provide users with alternative means of transportation when searching for directions. In other words, the company wants to make people use their cars less and stick with public transportation to reduce emissions.

The feature will debut in France, with Google Maps to display public transit and walking directions right next to driving routes when searching for driving directions to a destination. The alternative modes of transportation will only show up when "travel times are comparable and practical."

For example, if traffic conditions for a driving route are so bad that it takes 15 minutes to arrive at the destination, but you could arrive at the address within a 20-minute walk, Google Maps would suggest leaving your car at home for the trip. Public transportation could also be faster, so users in France will see more suggestions in Google Maps. The feature will start rolling out "in the near future," which can mean anything from later this year to some point in 2024.

Google will also start showing train route suggestions in Search when users look for flights. The company says the train is a more sustainable mode of transportation than an airplane, so by displaying routes in Search, users would be provided with an easy way to compare travel times, costs, and other factors that would eventually convince them to travel more efficiently.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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