Google Maps takes steps toward walking directions

Currently, Google Maps driving directions may suggest a roundabout route when a much more direct one is possible by walking or biking. The company is trying to remedy that.

Google Operating System blog

Google Maps is starting to roll out a beta of walking directions in addition to driving directions, the Google Operating System fan blog noticed on Monday.

It looks like it's available to select users in select locations for the time being, and indeed, I can't access it from my Google account yet. It's also unclear whether this will get expanded to the mobile version of Google Maps, where the availability of walking directions would certainly help.

This sort of feature can be very useful in cities with lots of one-way streets, like New York, or with parks and thoroughfares that accommodate pedestrians but not cars. Currently, Google Maps directions may suggest an extremely roundabout route when a much more direct one is possible by walking or biking.

Google Maps, which recently expanded its partnership with mapping company Tele Atlas , notes to "use caution when walking in unfamiliar areas," which is Googlespeak for "don't blame Larry and Sergey if you get mugged."

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


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