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New year, same us: Maps trends on 2021 resolutions

by Joseph Nakoul on Jan.28, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

The beginning of the year is often viewed as a fresh start. But in many ways, January feels like the thirteenth month of 2020! We turned to Google Maps search insights (December 2019-January 2020 vs. December 2020-January 2021) to see how Americans are handling tried-and-true New Year’s resolutions. Find out how common resolutions — like traveling, drinking less, eating better and working out more — are holding up in the midst of COVID-19.

Travel, but make it local

Americans seem to be feeling a sense of wanderlust, but it’s focused more on local travel than it was in January 2020. Last year, Maps searches for international destinations rose by over 65% compared to the previous month – with people searching for warm-weather places like Australia, Costa Rica and the Philippines. This year, January searches for countries outside of one’s hometown stayed flat — increasing by a mere 1%, almost certainly due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

In January 2020, Maps searches for island destinations increased by over 40% as people planned for some fun in the sun. This January, those searches are only up by a little over 10% compared to late last year. And searches for local bed and breakfasts have increased by 20%, indicating that Americans are searching for destinations closer to home instead of across the world.

Ski resorts are trending in a big way on Maps – likely because skiing is a socially distant activity with a chilly change of scenery. This January, Maps searches for ski resorts are more than twice as high as they were at the same time last year!

Dry January? Maybe not

Dry January” is consistently one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Last January, searches on Maps for wine shops and liquor stores both plummeted by nearly 40% compared to the previous December. This year, those searches only dropped by 11% and 6% respectively, hinting that people may be less committed to abstaining.

Healthy-ish eating

People are showing an interest in eating healthy. Searches for “healthy” options spiked by 46% at the start of January compared to the previous December. But at the same time there's another trend on the rise: people are also looking for sweets. Searches for ice cream shops are up by 10% compared to December. And, while searches for fast food restaurants plummeted by a whopping 20% in January 2020, they dropped by just 1.5% in 2021.

At-home workouts FTW!

Year-over-year searches for gyms have remained steady, increasing by about 25% in both 2020 and in 2021. However, while searches for hiking areas are still up this month compared to December, they’re significantly lower than they were in 2020 – a 16% increase compared to last year’s 55% increase. This could be due to local restrictions, or because more people are opting for one of the many at-home workout classes available online.

Resolutions or not, Google Maps is here to help. Whether you’re looking for healthy food or pints of ice cream, road trips or workouts you can do on your living room floor, here are some tips to help you keep up (or even break) your resolutions:

  1. Check out how local restaurants are operating: Before heading out of the house, use Google Maps to see if restaurants are offering things like dine-in services, takeout, or delivery. You can also see information about the extra safety precautions that restaurants are taking — like whether they have plexiglass at checkout or take guests’ temperatures upon arrival. 
  2. Track your order (so your ice cream doesn’t melt!): It’s tough to get the timing right for takeout and delivery orders – and no one likes cold entrees or soupy ice cream. If you order food on Google Maps, you can now see the status of your order on your Google Maps app homepage so you know exactly when it’s ready for pickup or set to arrive at your doorstep.
  3. Borrow a bike: If stationary bikes aren’t your thing, check out Google Maps to find your nearest docked bikeshare location. Maps can give you walking directions to the bike, and cycling directions to your final destination – so you can explore the outdoors by foot and on two wheels!
  4. Take an online class: Whether you’re looking to workout more, connect with a financial advisor or pick up a new hobby, use Maps to find local businesses that offer online classes and appointments that you can take right from the comfort of your own home.
  5. Plan your next road trip: Travel restrictions are still up in the air, which means you might not be. If you’re itching to sightsee beyond your route to the grocery store, follow other Google Maps users to get their updates and recommendations directly in your app! Local Guides — like Denise Barlock who lives in a RV motorhome and travels across the U.S. — share regular contributions to Maps and can be great resources for planning a trip!


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Charge it up: New Maps features for electric vehicles

by Alex Donaldson on Jan.28, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity. Still, planning a road trip with charge stops on route can feel like solving a puzzle. With an EV, you need to find recharging stations within range that also have your specific plug type and can recharge you as quickly as you need. 

To take the guesswork out of trip planning and recharging, we’re rolling out three new features for EVs with Google Maps built in.

Taking the stress out of EV route planning

Newly developed routing algorithms that use a type of math called graph theory serve up stress-free routes and charging stop recommendations in the latest release of Google Maps that’s built into participating EVs, including the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge. 

Now when you enter a destination that requires two or more recharge stops, algorithms in Maps will search and filter through tens to thousands of public charging stations to find the most efficient route — all in less than 10 seconds. You can see how long each charge will take and your updated total trip time, so your final ETA will never again be a mystery.

Image of Google Maps built in to an electric vehicle showing that you can add a stop to charge the vehicle on route to Yosemite Falls Trailhead.

 Add a charging stop to your route before you start your journey.

Hit the road with confidence

For shorter trips where only one charge is needed, like a Saturday hike or weekend getaway, you can select a charging station that best fits your needs from a list of recharge points in Google Maps.

You can see which charging stations are the fastest and select specific stations if you have a membership. You can also see if a charging spot is close to a grocery store or coffee shop, so you can knock out errands or recharge yourself with a latte while you wait.

Image showing Google Maps built in to an electric vehicle and the option to see what charging station is right on route to Santa Cruz Beach.

See which charging station is right for you.

The road ahead

In Europe we know it can be harder to find charging stations that will take your preferred form of payment. So Google Maps will show you what payment methods are accepted at stations in 12 countries throughout Europe, with more on the way.

These new features are now rolling out for cars with Google Maps built in — currently the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge — with more car models to come.

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How we’re helping get vaccines to more people

by Sundar Pichai on Jan.25, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on communities worldwide. While there is much uncertainty still ahead, the development of multiple safe vaccines in such a short time gives us reason for hope. Now the work begins to ensure that everyone can benefit from this triumph of scientific achievement, and quickly.


During the pandemic, Google has helped people get the information they need to keep their families safe and healthy. We’ve supported small businesses and partnered with Apple to build exposure notification technology to fight the spread of COVID-19 around the world. Now, as public health authorities ramp up vaccination efforts, we’re finding more ways to help. 


We recognize that getting vaccines to people is a complex problem to solve, and we’re committed to doing our part. Today we’re announcing that we’re providing more than $150 million to promote vaccine education and equitable distribution and making it easier to find locally relevant information, including when and where to get the vaccine. We’ll also be opening up Google spaces to serve as vaccination sites as needed. 

$150 million to promote vaccine education and equitable access 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve helped more than 100 government agencies and global non-governmental organizations run critical public service health announcements through our Ad Grants Crisis Relief program. Today, we’re announcing an additional $100 million in ad grants for the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization, and nonprofits around the globe. We’ll invest another $50 million in partnership with public health agencies to reach underserved communities with vaccine-related content and information.


Our efforts will focus heavily on equitable access to vaccines. Early data in the U.S. shows that disproportionately affected populations, especially people of color and those in rural communities, aren’t getting access to the vaccine at the same rates as other groups. To help, Google.org has committed $5 million in grants to organizations addressing racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations, including Morehouse School of Medicine’sSatcher Health Leadership Institute and the CDC Foundation.

Highlighting authoritative information and local vaccination sites on Search & Maps

To help find accurate and timely information on vaccines, we’ve expanded our information panels on Search to more than 40 countries and dozens of languages, with more rolling out in the coming week. We’ll begin showing state and regional distribution information on Search so people can easily find when they are eligible to receive a vaccine. Soon we’ll launch a “Get The Facts'' initiative across Google and YouTube to get authoritative information out to the public about vaccines. 


Searches for “vaccines near me” have increased 5x since the beginning of the year and we want to make sure we’re providing locally relevant answers. In the coming weeks, COVID-19 vaccination locations will be available in Google Search and Maps, starting with Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, with more states and countries to come. We’ll include details like whether an appointment or referral is required, if access is limited to specific groups, or if it has a drive-through. We’re working with partners like VaccineFinder.org, an initiative of Boston Children's Hospital, and other authoritative sources, such as government agencies and retail pharmacies, to gather vaccination location information and make it available.


Two phones displaying the locations of vaccination sites in Search and Maps results

Search and Maps will soon show vaccination sites with important details

Opening our spaces for vaccination clinics 

To help with vaccination efforts, starting in the United States, we’ll make select Google facilities—such as buildings, parking lots and open spaces—available as needed. These sites will be open to anyone eligible for the vaccine based on state and local guidelines. We’ll start by partnering with health care provider One Medicaland public health authorities to open sites in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in California; Kirkland, Washington; and New York City, with plans to expand nationally. We’re working with local officials to determine when sites can open based on local vaccine availability. 

Using our technology to improve vaccine distribution 

Google Cloud is helping healthcare organizations, retail pharmacies, logistics companies, and public sector institutions make use of innovative technologies to speed up delivery of vaccines. For example, logistics companies are using our AI to optimize trucking operations by adapting to traffic or inclement weather, and detect temperature fluctuations during transport. Once vaccines reach their destination, our tools help facilitate pre-screening, scheduling, and follow up. And our Intelligent Vaccine Impact Platform is helping states like New York and North Carolina manage distribution and forecast where vaccines, personal protective equipment, and hospital staffing will be most needed.


The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected every community all over the world. It’s also inspired coordination between public and private sectors, and across international borders, on a remarkable scale. We can’t slow down now. Getting vaccines to billions of people won’t be easy, but it’s one of the most important problems we’ll solve in our lifetimes. Google will continue to support in whatever way we can.

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Take a snowy stroll with Street View

by Anne Teeka on Dec.18, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Every year when it gets colder outside, 
I find myself waiting at the window wide-eyed. 
I see wind and some rain, and I sometimes see ice, 
But there’s one particular weather pattern that’s so seasonally nice. 

It can be fluffy or sticky, and it’s often bright white,
And it’s usually the cause of a most festive fight. 
When the temperature drops and the clouds look just so, 
I pull out my ski jacket and get ready for—yes!—snow!

Now if you look outside and see no snowflakes in sight, 
I have a travel solution that requires no flights: 
You can journey to snowy lands all over the globe, 
Use Google Maps Street View—you can even wear your bathrobe. 

Visit this street in Norway, and imagine you hear, 
The pitter-patter of strolling reindeer.

Then some miles south in Nuuksio, Finland
You’ll see perfect snow that the Northern Lights skim.

Staying in Europe but moving farther east
On a winter wonderland, your eyes will feast!

When you’re ready, we’ll head west to France
And watch skiers fly down the snow in their dance.

Now if you thought things already looked cold,
Just wait until you check out the actual South Pole.

Things are much warmer for these monkeys in Japan
They’ve got themselves a hot tub, all they need is a tan.

Thanks for joining me here, and listening to my poem,
Or perhaps, given the subject, you could call it a snow-em.

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How location helps provide more relevant search results

by Danny Sullivan on Dec.17, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

There are many factors that play a role in providing helpful results when you search for something on Google. These factors help us rank or order results and can include the words of your query, the relevance or usability of web pages in our index, and the expertise of sources.

Location is another important factor to provide relevant Search results. It helps you find the nearest coffee shop when you need a pick-me-up, traffic predictions along your route, and even important emergency information for your area. In this post, we’ll share details about the vital role that location plays in generating great search results.

Finding businesses and services in your community

It’s a Friday night. You’re hungry and want some pizza delivered. If Google couldn’t consider location in search ranking, our results might display random pizza restaurants that are nowhere near you. With location information, we can better ensure you’re getting webpages and business listings about pizza places that are local and relevant to you.

The same is true for many types of businesses and services with physical locations, such as banks, post offices, restaurants or stores. Consider two people who search for zoos—one in Omaha, Nebraska and the other in Mobile, Alabama. Location information helps both get the right local information that they need:

Searches for "zoos" in Omaha, Nebraska and Mobile, Alabama

Same query, different local contexts

Location can matter even when you’re searching for something that doesn’t necessarily have a physical location. For example, a search for “air quality” in San Diego, California versus Tulsa, Oklahoma might lead you to pages with local information relevant to each area.

Searches for “air quality” in San Diego, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma

Similarly, certain information in Search can be more useful if it’s specific to your city or neighborhood. If you were to search Google for “parking information,” you might see information about municipal codes and parking enforcement for your local area that would differ from what someone else might see in another city. 

Local information in search results can also be helpful in an emergency. If you search for “hurricane,” our Crisis Response features can show you local shelter information if there’s a hurricane close by, rather than just generic information about what a hurricane is.

Of course, just because some searches have local results, it’s not the case that everyone gets completely different results just because they are in different cities (or even different countries). If a search topic has no local aspect to it, there won’t be local results shown. If there is, we’ll show a mix of local results that are relevant to particular places along with non-local results that are generally useful.

How location works at Google

You might be wondering how location works at Google. Google determines location from a few different sources, and then uses this information to deliver more relevant experiences when it will be more helpful for people. Learn more about the different ways we may understand location in the video below as well as how to manage your data in a way that works best for you on our help center page about location and Search

Location is a critical part of how Google is able to deliver the most relevant and helpful search results possible—whether you need emergency information in a snap, or just some late-night pizza delivered. For more under-the-hood information, check out our How Search Works series. 

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How 15 years of mapping the world makes Search better

by Elizabeth Reid on Dec.05, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Our Maps 101 series goes behind the scenes to share how we help you navigate, explore and get things done every single day. Over the past 15 years, we’ve provided maps in more than 220 countries and territories and now surface helpful information for more than 200 million places. These efforts bring helpful local information to your fingertips in Google Maps and produce better Google Search results, helping you connect with nearby places and businesses. 

In fact, Search results that show local places and businesses now drive more than 4 billion connections between customers and businesses every month. This includes more than 2 billion monthly website clicks and other connections, such as phone calls, directions, food ordering and reservations. 

Today, we’ll share more about the innovations and investments that help build an accurate and up-to-date understanding of places for the billions of people looking for local information on Search and Maps.

Maximizing Street View with breakthroughs in AI

Street View imagery lets you virtually explore the world, and helps us accurately reflect local information about places in Maps and Search. We’ve travelled more than 10 million miles across 87 countries to capture this imagery and bring new information online—from unmapped roads to new businesses.

Applying artificial intelligence to our more than 170 billion Street View images helps us create high-quality maps faster than we could before. For instance, applying machine learning models to Street View imagery has improved the accuracy of one-third of the addresses in Google Maps and Search, resulting in more reliable maps as people look for a local business or navigate to a destination. 

Text recognition in the natural environment is challenging—especially at scale. The average Street View photo has visual distractions like distortions, cluttered backgrounds with extraneous text and awkward viewpoints. After years of teaching machine learning models, our text recognition systems can tune out these distractions and detect business names and addresses even when they're handwritten on the side of a building or abbreviated. These models can understand a variety of languages across various scripts too, from Latin, Cyrillic and Thai to Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

In the last few years alone, processing imagery with AI has been one of the important ways we’ve been able to add more than 10 billion edits to our library of places, providing people with updated phone numbers, business hours and locations as they use Maps and Search.

Building data partnerships with authoritative sources worldwide

Thanks to partnerships covering more than 10,000 local governments, municipal agencies and organizations around the world, we're able to reflect the latest information in Search and Maps results and help local authorities reach even more people in their communities with important updates. This includes everything from bike lanes and road closures to the addresses of hospitals and food banks. Our teams vet each authoritative data source to make sure it’s accurate before it appears on Search and Maps.

Working with authorities around the world also helps us quickly gather and surface critical information. This year, these partnerships made it possible to make important updates relevant to COVID-19. When you search for “COVID test” on Search and Maps we now show you more than 17,000 COVID-19 testing centers across 20 countries and all 50 U.S. states. You can also see important details like if appointments are required, who can get tested and if there’s drive-through testing. 

These details are crucial and accuracy is key, which is why we lean on authoritative sources to help us surface this information in Maps and Search.

A global community contributes to make Search and Maps better

To ensure our products reflect the real world as fast as it changes, we enable people everywhere to contribute their local knowledge. Every day, people make millions of contributions to Google Maps, like reviews, photos, address updates and more. And we’re seeing more people contributing than ever before. In the past 3 years, the number of reviews, ratings and photos people have added to Google Maps more than doubled.

With local details from people in Maps and Search, it’s easier to make more informed decisions. You can quickly find reviews when looking for a mechanic, see photos others have added for a park you’d like to explore, and find your convenience store’s new hours. 

A phone shows what people’s reviews on Maps and Search look like

People’s reviews on Maps and Search make it easier to discover new places and learn about businesses nearby.

This year, as cities and countries instituted restrictions throughout the pandemic, many places temporarily closed or changed their operations. While businesses can indicate if they are open with their Google My Business listing, we’ve also made it easy for anyone to mark a business as open or temporarily closed on Search and Maps by simply suggesting an edit. Over the course of the pandemic, people have submitted millions of temporary closure and reopen reports, helping eliminate the uncertainty about which businesses are open and when. 

Giving business owners free tools to connect with customers online 

One of the most important ways we help local businesses succeed is by connecting them with customers online. Business owners can claim their free Business Profile and connect directly with customers across Search and Maps via phone calls, messages and reservations. They can also share accurate information about their business, including opening hours, services offered and contact information. And each month Google connects people with more than 120 million businesses that don't have websites, helping small business owners who aren’t online attract more customers.

Over the last five years, we’ve made more than a thousand improvements to Business Profiles, making it easier for merchants to connect with customers and share updates online. We recently made this even easier by adding new ways for merchants to view and update their Business Profile directly from Search and Maps. 

With the pandemic causing daily disruptions worldwide, Google has helped businesses keep customers updated about everything from new services to adjusted store capacity and hours. Since the start of COVID-19, businesses made nearly 700 million edits to their Business Profiles, about double the number of changes made during the same time last year. 

Image of desktop and phone show how it's easy for a business owner to update their Business Profile and engage with customers directly from Search and Maps.

It’s easy for a business owner to update their Business Profile and engage with customers directly from Search and Maps.

Gathering local information in totally new ways

To help people find what they need in a world that changes by the minute, we’ve developed new ways to find and surface information.

For example, people tend to avoid crowded stores and long lines—and this has been especially true during the pandemic. Popular times and live busyness information help people see how busy a place tends to be at a specific time or at that very moment. Gone are the days of guessing the best time to go grocery shopping! We’re expanding live busyness information to millions of places globally and to include essential places like gas stations, grocery stores, laundromats and pharmacies.

Google’s conversational technology, Duplex, has helped us scale our ability to confirm updated information for places. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve put Duplex to work making calls to businesses in eight countries—from New Zealand to the United States—to confirm things like opening hours or whether they offer takeout and delivery. This has helped us make millions of updates to business information that have been seen more than 20 billion times in Maps and Search.

Building the most helpful map of an infinitely detailed world

Beyond the technologies we’ve developed, our global operations teams play a role in nearly every aspect of mapmaking. They gather data, train machine learning models that help us index information from imagery, fix problems and evaluate authoritative data sources. They also build and maintain the automated systems that protect people from fake contributed content and even help small business owners set up Google My Business accounts.

All this to say, our work to organize the world's information and make it accessible and useful is never done. Given the pace of change, there’s never been a more important time for us to be helpful.

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6 new ways Android can help this holiday season

by Ajay Gokhale on Dec.04, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA


With the holidays around the corner, we’re sharing six new Google features for Android—a few more ways your phone gets more helpful over time, even outside of major OS updates. Whether you’re texting holiday greetings to loved ones or winding down with a book, here’s how Android can help.


1. Mix up more of your favorite emoji

Emoji Kitchen gets new stickers and mixing experiences

Click on the image above to see a video of the latest mixing experience coming to Emoji Kitchen 

With Emoji Kitchen on Gboard, people have mixed their favorite emoji into customized stickers over 3 billion times since it was released earlier this year. With this latest update, Emoji Kitchen is going from hundreds of unique design combinations to over 14,000. Each mix makes it easier for you to express yourself with a little extra flair. Now you can simply tap two emoji to quickly see suggested combinations, or double tap on one emoji to reveal some more intense emotions. 

Already available on Gboard beta, the new version of Emoji Kitchen will be available on Android 6.0 and above over the coming weeks. Download Gboard on Google Play to enjoy the new emoji kitchen stickers this holiday season. ❄️️⛄️

2. Enjoy more stories as audiobooks

Auto-narrated audiobooks give voices to more ebooks

Click on the image above to see a video of how Google Play is bringing more audiobooks to Android

The holiday season is the perfect time to wind down and catch up on some books, and audiobooks make it even more convenient to immerse yourself in a story. But not all books, like the one written by your favorite indie author, are converted into an audiobook. Now Google Play, working with publishers in the U.S. and the UK, will use auto-generated narrators so books without audio versions can be narrated—meaning you’ll have more audio titles to choose from on Play Store. The publisher tool to create auto-narrated audiobooks is currently in beta, but it will roll out to all publishers in early 2021.

3. Use Voice Access to navigate your device 

Easily use and navigate your phone by speaking out loud with Voice Access

Click on the image above to see a video showing how Voice Access can help you navigate your smartphone

Built with people with motor disabilities in mind, Voice Access lets you control your phone using your voice. Now using machine learning technology, you can add labels to the screens of your Android apps to help you work within them with your voice. For example, you can say “open Photos”, “tap Search”, “tap Your Map” to see a map of all your photos. This makes navigation convenient and hands-free, using just your voice. Previously rolled out on Android 11, this new version of Voice Access is now available globally on all devices running Android 6.0 and above. You can download Voice Access on Google Play and try the new version out by joining the Beta today.

4. Get around with the Go Tab

New Go Tab in Google Maps is available today

Click on the image above to see the video of the new Go Tab in Google Maps

With the new Go Tab in Google Maps, you can more easily navigate to frequently-visited places with just one tap. Pin your favorite driving destinations like school or a grocery store to quickly see directions, live traffic trends, disruptions on your route, and an accurate ETA—all without typing the place’s address. If you take public transit, you can pin specific routes, which will let you see accurate departure and arrival times, alerts from your local transit agency, and an up-to-date ETA right from the Go Tab. You can even pin multiple routes (including a driving route and a transit route) to the same destination to see which one will get you there most efficiently. The Go Tab starts rolling out on Android and iOS in the coming weeks. 


Be sure to check out other helpful Google Maps features on Android, like live transit crowdedness and Assistant driving mode to help you navigate and get things done this holiday season.


5. Android Auto expands to more countries

Android Auto is rolling out to more countries


Over the next few months, Android Auto will be expanding to new countries, bringing your favorite apps and services from your phone onto your car display. With Android Auto, you can talk to Google to play music, send messages, get directions, and more, so you can keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. With phones running Android 10 and above, all you need to do to get started is plug your Android phone into a compatible car. For Android 9 and earlier phones, you can download the app.


6. Share your favorite apps with Nearby Share

Send and receive apps without cell or wifi connection

An upcoming update to Nearby Share will let you share apps from Google Play with the people around you with an Android phone, even if you don’t have a cell or Wi-Fi connection. Simply open Google Play, go to the “Share Apps” menu in “My Apps & Games,” select the apps you want to share, and let your friend accept the incoming apps. This update will roll out in the coming weeks.

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Now anyone can share their world with Street View

by Stafford Marquardt on Dec.03, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

When people find out that I work on Street View, the first thing they ask is, "How can I drive the Street View car?" Sadly, we don’t loan out those iconic vehicles, but what if any car could become a Street View car? Better yet, what if anyone could contribute to Street View, using only their phone?

With our updated Street View app on Android, it’s now easier than ever to collect your own Street View imagery and put it in the right place on Google Maps. Using our new connected photos tool in the app, you can record a series of connected images as you move down a street or path. 

These images are captured using ARCore, the same augmented reality technology we use to produce experiences like Live View. After you record your images and publish them via the Street View app, we automatically rotate, position and create a series of connected photos. We then place those connected images in the right place on Google Maps, so your new Street View can be found in the exact location where it was taken for others to see and explore. 

You first record your connected photos in the Street View app as seen in this example from Government Camp, Oregon. These photos were recently captured by the blog author.

You first record your connected photos in the Street View app as seen in this example from Government Camp, Oregon. These photos were recently captured by the blog author.

Before this feature, you would typically need special 360-degree cameras to capture and publish Street View imagery. Some equipment you could even attach to the roof of your car, but at the cost of thousands of dollars; that’s out of the realm for many. 

Now that anyone can create their own connected Street View photos, we can bring better maps to more people around the world, capturing places that aren’t on Google Maps or that have seen rapid change. All you need is a smartphone—no fancy equipment required. 

One person has added connected photos from the Maldives. You can see connected photos on Google Maps on desktop or on the app

You can see Street View connected photos in the Google Maps app or on a desktop. Here's a contribution from the Maldives.

Reflecting more places and communities on Google Maps

While our own Street View trekkers and cars have collected more than 170 billion images from 10 million miles around the planet, there are still many unmapped parts of the world. That’s why for years we've been building new ways for people to contribute their own imagery to Google Maps. In fact, we've seen millions of Street View images contributed from people in every country on Earth, from Bermuda and Tonga to Zanzibar andZimbabwe.

Where people contribute connected photos, they will appear in the Street View layer on Google Maps as dotted blue lines—simply drag Pegman around to find them. Where we have existing Google Street View imagery, we’ll show that as the primary Street View experience with a solid blue line. While it’s still early days for this beta feature, there are already examples of people adding their own connected photos—from Nigeria to Japan and Brazil.

As with our other imagery, these pictures will help make Google Maps more accurate and up-to-date for everyone. For example, we can use the information in Street View imagery to update Google Maps with details like the names and addresses of businesses that aren’t currently on the map and maybe even their publicly posted open hours. We’ll also give these connected photos the same privacy controls, including face and license-plate blurring treatment that you see in the regular Street View photos that Google captures. We also make it easy for people to report imagery and other types of contributed content for review. 


Anyone can contribute to Google Maps and Street View

Driving through a town where Street View cars have never been? Your phone is now all you need to tell Google Maps what's there—and let people around the world explore it through your lens. 

The connected photos beta feature is now available for people using the Street View app with an ARCore-compatible Android device in Toronto, Canada, New York, NY and Austin, TX, along with Nigeria, Indonesia and Costa Rica—with more regions on the way soon. 

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