These Are the Big New Google Maps Features Google Is Now Working On

Google Maps getting more improvements 4 photos
Photo: autoevolution
Google Maps fuel efficient routesGoogle Maps driving modeGoogle Maps dark mode
Google Maps was, is, and will most likely continue to be the world’s preferred navigation app for a long time, not only because it comes with an impressive feature lineup available at no cost, but also thanks to Google rolling out further updates and additional polishing on a regular basis.
Google Maps is therefore a continuously evolving piece of software that has turned into a must-have application for many drivers out there who just want an easy and convenient way to reach their destinations.

But as we said, Google wants to make Google Maps an even more advanced solution, so the search giant is working on several important updates for the app as we speak, some of them exclusively available to users on Android or Android Auto.

And while ETAs aren’t available right now, we expect more information to make the headlines rather sooner than later, especially as Google is making some good progress on their development.

Android driving mode

The first feature currently in the works and whose development is advancing quite fast is the new driving mode powered by Google Assistant and bundled with the navigation app.

Currently available in the United States, Germany, and a few other countries as a preview exclusive to Android users, the Google Maps driving mode has one simple role: it converts the navigation app into a driving hub that doubles as the home of everything else you’d need behind the wheel, including music apps, calls, and messages.

If you’ve used Android Auto for phones in the past, you should definitely find the experience familiar because this is the application that served as the starting point for the creation of this feature.

Once enabled, the driving mode activates a new Google Maps UI that provides one-tap access to everything, including phone calls and music controls. Pretty much like Android Auto for phones, with one big difference: Google Maps is the only navigation app allowed this time.

As we said, there’s no ETA as to when this feature could get the go-ahead, but since it’s offered as a preview, there’s a chance it reaches more users by the end of the year.

Google Maps driving mode
Photo: Google

Fuel efficient routes

Another big change for Google Maps (and which has already been confirmed by Google) is the way the application determines the routes when setting up the navigation.

Right now, Google Maps tries to find the fastest route to a specific destination by looking into data like traffic jams, maximum speed, and similar criteria.

In the future, however, Google Maps will replace this new model with one that’s specifically focused on fuel-efficient routes, with Google explaining that it wants to provide users with directions that would help them reduce fuel consumption.

The goal is to eventually cut the carbon footprint even if this means Google Maps might provide you with slower routes. The bad news for those who don’t like this change is the new route model will be enabled by default, but on the other hand, Google will allow users to revert to the original configuration manually from the settings screen.

This feature will be available on both iPhone and Android, and Google says it’ll look into road incline and traffic congestion to make sure it’s as accurate as possible.

Google Maps fuel efficient routes
Photo: Google

Dedicated Android Auto day/night mode toggle

In addition to improving the experience on Android and iPhone, Google is also committed to further polishing Google Maps on Android Auto and CarPlay.

The next in line to get such an update is Android Auto, as Google Maps could soon receive a dedicated day and night mode toggle to work independently from the rest of the system.

Right now, Google Maps aligns with the system settings, so it can automatically switch to the dark mode when you turn on your headlights if a factory-installed Android Auto head unit is available. In the future, however, Google will provide users with more control in this regard, so Google Maps would receive a new setting to manually switch from day to night mode on request right from the head unit.

Google Maps dark mode
Photo: Google
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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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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