Google Maps has been busy this week, the same week the mapping service celebrated its tenth birthday. According to the Android Police, Google Maps has finally brought lane guidance to 15 more European map app-using countries.
A feature that’s been available in the United States since May of 2014, and in some parts of Europe since December, according to Android Police, lane guidance extends the usefulness of Google Maps to the extent that it could even save lives.
According to Google Maps Help, the service is invaluable.
“When you approach an intersection or exit with multiple lanes, Navigation can help. Voice guidance and step-by-step directions suggest which lanes are best for your route.”
For those who don’t know what lane guidance is, it shows drivers in which lane they need to be to execute the next maneuver. Imagine you are getting off a highway in an unfamiliar town and you come to an intersection with only four lanes, but six options – two for left turns, two for right turns, and two that go straight.
You don’t want to be in the left lanes if the next maneuver is to make a right, but – being unfamiliar with the area – you don’t know that. This means making the lane change decision at the last minute, which could result in either missing the turn or – worst-case scenario – causing an accident.
As seen in the above screenshot, lane guidance shows the driver which lane to be in before even getting off the highway, thus preventing any potential problems.
Google rolled out the feature to 15 European countries including Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Sweden, and others. Android Police has the full list.
Another recent Google Map update includes integration with UberX for map service users in Delhi, India, according to NDTV Gadgets. Google Maps began its Uber App Integration in select markets in the United States as of November, 2014, according to Uber’s Blog.
— Uber Delhi (@Uber_Delhi) February 6, 2015
This means that in addition to the usual information Google Maps supplies, users in Delhi will also receive UberX ride sharing information.
Google Maps integrates the UberX information by showing it as a route option alongside the other options available. This currently includes directions for drivers, walkers, and those who take a bus or other public transportation.
However, Google Maps users should note that UberX information will show up only if the user has the UberX application installed, and if a ride is available around the time the traveler is searching.
Also available when Google Maps route options are used are the usual options including fastest times, estimated duration of travel, and the distance from one place to another, as well as potential public transportation fares when that information is available.
NDTV Gadgets explains the addition.
“Google Maps app will show an estimated UberX pickup time, fare, and travel time to their destination when searching for transit or walking directions.”
However, users cannot schedule the ride from within Google Maps. Instead, if a user finds the perfect ride, that user must “tap the Uber card.” This takes the user to the UberX app to reserve the ride and complete the transaction.
While Delhi, India, is the latest in a string of just over 30 cities where the UberX app integration with Google Maps is available, Uber promises that users in many more cities will have the option available to them “soon.”
Luckily for European and Indian users, Google Maps updates automatically, so drivers should already be seeing the changes.