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Google Maps is gaining new Eco-Friendly, Safer routing options

At I/O 2021, Google previews future updates to the Google Maps navigation app.

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Google

Google Maps is getting a little I/O 2021 love in the form of new and updated routing methods to help drivers get where they are going. 

An upcoming Eco-Friendly Route option prioritizes the roads and directions that are the most fuel efficient -- for example, with less traffic, fewer stop signs or more downhill coasting. There will also be a new Safe Route mode that can identify road conditions where sudden braking is likely and route around it; this may include inclement or dangerous weather, heavy traffic or other hazards.

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In the future, Google's new machine learning computational capabilities will integrate with Maps to choose routes based on more than just traffic. Google head Sundar Pichai gave the hypothetical example of using Assistant voice to "find a route with beautiful mountain views." The artificial intelligence then used its newly announced Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) to figure out what the driver was asking for and utilized its knowledge drawn from photo recognition to offer what will be a satisfyingly scenic route.

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Google

Meanwhile, Google has rolled out "more than 100 AI-driven improvements" to rich map data and walking routes. There have also been 150K kilometers of bike routes added to Maps' live database for those of us who need to get around on pedal power. Additionally, Google is adding new prompts that remind users when their Location History tracking is active with a switch to deactivate the feature more easily.

Stay tuned to the rest of our coverage of Google I/O 2021 for even more news and announcements.