Gogle Maps app on mobile device

Is Google Maps’ Secret Driving Mode ‘Google Here’ Without The Ads?

Mobile users who have relied on Google Maps in the past have sometimes reported issues that have incorrectly led them to the wrong destinations, putting off many others from fully depending on the program.

But Google has recently provided some updates to the app in a new feature, which is able to better predict where a mobile user wants to drive to, by using the user’s previous search history and location data.

In order to make it easier, as Android Police describes it, Google Maps has a new driving mode where based off of collected information, the app will provide useful travel information with suggestions.

Before the end of 2015, Wired published a story about the iPhone program Siri, which unknowingly to users at the time, had been collecting recordings of mobile user’s voices every time they spoke to the program and according to The Guardian Google has been doing this too.

Google Maps update makes driving easier
GoogleStreetViewCar Subaru Impreza at Google Campus” by Original uploader was Kowloonese at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:MB-one using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Around the same time, Google raised some concerns with an app called Google Here which according to The Inquisitr was considered too invasive and ended up getting pulled by the company because of it.

The app would provide information to the user about services provided by a retail environment the mobile user would immediately be in such as offering discounts through the app, depending on the user’s preferences.

The new Google Maps’ driving mode seems to operate in the same fashion where it not only stores information but with customized preferences for the user.

In this case it appears to be similar to the Google Here app but rather than operating in a stationary environment, it functions while on the go in a larger world environment.

This update, referred to as v9.19, would make it less of a hassle for those who are on the go without thinking too much about how to get to their destination. For instance with running errands.

As Android Police puts it, the app provides the user with traffic updates and ETAs as a complete replacement of the navigation mode. However, as it is also a new update, the technological news source, it also refers to some hard-to-avoid glitches which should be fixed in future upgrades.


But another article by Time goes into more specifics about Google Maps’ new update where the suggestions during travel are also determined by the time of day.

“For instance, if it’s 6 p.m. on a Monday, Driving Mode may pull up directions to home. Launching Driving Mode at that same time on a Saturday might yield different results.”

Regular users of Google Maps will know that as long as they are logged into their Google account, the app will save frequently visited locations and so the log in requirement hasn’t changed however, the driving mode will collect all of the information not only from previous searches in Google Maps but also, from other apps such as the Google search app.

Google has not only been at the forefront of innovative artificially intelligent technologies but as a result, they have also been very controversial for what many believe is invasion of privacy.


This was no only the response to the already mentioned Google Here but other products such as Google Glasses.

A month ago The Inqusitir also published an article on a Chinese hardware manufacturer who has collaborated with Google for their Nexus devices named Huawei. The company got the attention of U.S. lawmakers who have essentially pressured the U.S. markets to not do business with the company as a homeland security threat. But now that company is leading the way of innovation with Android Wear that is not only receiving praise from the tech industry but, consumers as well.

The company dropped the effort to go after the U.S. market for their devices a few years ago however, with the smart watch, they have another chance. If Google Here was scrapped by the company because of privacy concerns and yet the new Google Maps Driving Mode is going in the same direction, then much like Huawei, Google might be coming back with an old idea but this time, in a new package.

[Featured image by Johan Larrson via Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

Comments