My Google Map Blog

Tag: maps

Taking pride in our businesses

by Mackenzie Thomas (she/her) on Jun.22, 2022, 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

A couple of years ago, my partner and I moved to Kentucky, not knowing anyone in the state. Before moving, I extensively researched local websites and online magazines, trying to understand the neighborhoods and get a sense of the community. Somewhere along the way I found Lussi Brown Coffee Bar, a local business run by by a queer woman. Not knowing whether I’d get a response, I eagerly reached out through email, asking questions to get a sense of the community. To my delight, the owner, Sarah Brown (she/they), quickly responded and provided an overview of the rich history of the LGBTQ+ community in Lexington. And of course, she shared recommendations of some of their favorite LGBTQ+ owned businesses in the state too!

As we moved into town, Sarah and their girlfriend welcomed us with open arms, very much making the community immediately feel like home. And our physical home brought that same love, too. Unintentionally, we rented an apartment on a short street filled with LGBTQ+ folks from their 20s through their 70s — in fact, our neighbors called it Kentucky’s “Barbary Lane,” a nod to the tight knit, beloved street of LGBTQ+ folks in Armistead Maupin’s novel “Tales of the City.”

A person in a black shirt and shorts sits at a wooden table outside a coffee shop with a rainbow Pride flag hanging in the window

Owner Sarah Brown (she/they) outside of their coffee shop, Lussi Brown

With that same spirit, we want to make it easier for others to find LGBTQ+ owned businesses in their own community. Starting today, merchants in the U.S. with a verified Business Profile on Google can add an LGBTQ+ owned attribute to their profile, making it easier for customers to find and support them through Search and Maps. This new offering joins the Black-owned, Latino-owned, veteran-owned and women-owned business attributes we already offer, and is yet another way people can support diverse businesses.

An attendee of an event co-hosted by NGLCC and Google, sitting in a yellow chair looking forward

As we celebrate Pride, it’s important to remember visibility and representation are critical, all year round. A flag in the window of a small business has the power to bring queer folks together, to celebrate our joy, honor our history, and fight for our diverse community. It’s our hope that this attribute will allow business owners to celebrate their identity and community with the world.

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5 of our favorite Android widget features

by Luke Wroblewski on Jun.16, 2022, 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

Widgets are a simple way to personalize any Home screen, putting the information that’s most important to you — your inbox, the weather, your to-do list or even a photo of your dog — front and center.

With the upcoming launch of the nearby traffic widget for Google Maps (more on that soon), 35 Google widgets will be available on Android. To celebrate, we’re spotlighting five of our favorite widget features to help everyone better organize and personalize their Home screens.

Check local traffic with a tap

Whether you’re commuting or heading out to meet friends, Google Maps’ real-time traffic predictions can help you easily plan your route. And with the new nearby traffic widget, launching in the coming weeks, you’ll see this information for your current location right from your Android Home screen. So if you're about to leave home, work, school or anywhere else, you’ll know at a glance exactly what local traffic might be like. And because Android widgets are tappable, you can zoom in and out without opening the Maps app.

Dark green Android wallpaper showing a bamboo palm with the Google nearby traffic widget laid over the top. The widget shows a local map of traffic levels and zooms in and out.

Tap to instantly archive emails

The Gmail widget is a simple way to keep your inbox organized. Just tap to archive an email when it hits your inbox, without having to open the Gmail app.

An Android background with light purple orchids. In the foreground, the Gmail widget animates through the archive feature. An email arrives in the inbox, the archive button is tapped and the email disappears.

Scroll through your to-do list

Lots of you love the scrollable to-do list in the Keep widget. It’s an easy way to keep track of your tasks for the day, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as crossing them off when you’re done — except maybe scrolling back up to see everything you accomplished.

A light peach-colored pastel background, with the Google Keep widget in the foreground. The widget scrolls through a list of items to pack for vacation.

Skim through your favorite translations

The Google Translate widget’s scrolling feature can help you stay organized, too. If you need to keep certain phrases handy while you’re traveling or speaking with friends and family, you can set them up to always appear on your Home Screen. Just star your favorite translations in the app and you’ll see them right on the widget.

Light orange Android wallpaper of a flower stamen. In the foreground a user scrolls through the Google translate widget, with selected saved translations to use.

Resize widgets to fit your needs

Android widgets are easy to resize and even change shape to help you declutter your Home screen — while keeping helpful features intact. For example, if you make the Drive widget smaller, it’ll turn into a toolbar so you can still quickly search for your files.

Light green Android wallpaper showing a green flower. In the foreground, an animation of different Google Drive widgets resizes.
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Get some fresh air outdoors with Google

by Can Comertoglu on Jun.09, 2022, 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

As temperatures heat up and summer officially begins across the United States, many of us are taking the opportunity to explore the great outdoors. If you have an adventure on the horizon, here are two ways you can use Google tools to stay safe and healthy during your summer activities.

Check the air quality before you head out

When you're visiting a new place or planning outdoor activities, it can be helpful to know the air quality conditions — like whether it’s unusually smoggy. Check out the air quality layer on Google Maps for both Android and iOS, to help you make more informed decisions about whether it’s safe to go on a hike or other outdoor adventures. You’ll see Air Quality Index (AQI), a measure of how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is, along with guidance for outdoor activities, when the information was last updated, and links to learn more.

The air quality layer shows trusted data from government agencies, including theEnvironmental Protection Agency in the U.S. We are also showing air quality information fromPurpleAir, a low-cost sensor network which gives a more hyperlocal view of conditions. To add the air quality layer to your map, simply tap on the button in the top right corner of your screen, then select Air Quality under Map details.

You can also view air quality information from PurpleAir on Nest displays and speakers. The broad coverage of PurpleAir sensors means significantly more people in the U.S. will be able to access vital air quality information directly from their Nest devices.

Two smartphone screens showing the air quality layer on Google Maps

Be prepared during wildfire season

In recent years, wildfires have intensified and increased across the United States and around the world. Google Search interest in “Best air filters for wildfire smoke” and “Best mask for wildfire smoke” has doubled over the past year in the U.S. As wildfire season approaches, these Google features can help you safely navigate wildfires.

Before you head out, turn on the wildfire layer in Google Maps to see more details about active fires in the area thanks to our partnership with the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). Or, for larger wildfires, you can use Search to look up "wildfires near me", and we'll surface associated air quality information along with useful information about the fire. In the coming months, we’re also adding smoke data across the U.S. from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to our air quality information on Google Search.

A smartphone screen showing air quality information on Google Search

We collaborate closely with partners in the weather and air quality space to surface helpful and authoritative information when you need it most. As you head out on hikes, camping trips and other outdoor adventures, we hope these tools help you feel safe and informed so you can enjoy the summer.

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Street View turns 15 with a new camera and fresh features

by Ethan Russell on May.24, 2022, 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

Fifteen years ago, Street View began as a far-fetched idea from Google co-founder Larry Page to build a 360-degree map of the entire world. Fast forward to today: There are now over 220 billion Street View images from over 100 countries and territories — a new milestone — allowing people to fully experience what it’s like to be in these places right from their phone or computer. And Street View doesn't just help you virtually explore, it’s also critical to our mapping efforts — letting you see the most up-to-date information about the world, while laying the foundation for a more immersive, intuitive map.

While that’s all worth celebrating, we aren’t stopping there. Today, we’re unveiling Street View’s newest camera, giving you more ways to explore historical imagery, and taking a closer look at how Street View is powering the future of Google Maps.

Bringing Street View to more places with our newest camera

From the back of a camel in the Arabian desert to a snowmobile zipping through the Arctic, we’ve gotten creative with the ways we’ve used Street View cameras to capture imagery. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that our world changes at lightning speed. Our hardware is one way we’re able to keep up with the pace.

In addition to our Street View car and trekker, we’re piloting a new camera that will fully roll out next year to help us collect high-quality images in more places. This new camera takes all the power, resolution and processing capabilities that we’ve built into an entire Street View car, and shrinks it down into an ultra-transportable camera system that’s roughly the size of a house cat. But unlike house cats, it’s ready to be taken to remote islands, up to the tops of mountains or on a stroll through your local town square.

Street View’s newest camera featuring a blue top and two camera lenses and a metallic bottom with vents

Here’s a quick look at our new camera system:

  • It weighs less than 15 pounds. This means it can be shipped anywhere. This is especially handy when we work with partners around the world to capture imagery of traditionally under-mapped areas — like the Amazon jungle.
  • It’s extremely customizable. Previously, we needed to create an entirely new camera system whenever we wanted to collect different types of imagery. But now, we can add on to this modular camera with components like lidar — laser scanners — to collect imagery with even more helpful details, like lane markings or potholes. We can add these features when we need them, and remove them when we don’t.
  • It can fit on any car. Our new camera can be attached to any vehicle with a roof rack and operated right from a mobile device — no need for a specialized car or complex processing equipment. This flexibility will make collections easier for partners all over the world, and allow us to explore more sustainable solutions for our current fleet of cars — like plug-in hybrids or fully electric vehicles. You’ll start seeing our new camera in fun Google colors alongside our iconic Street View cars and trekkers next year.

Traveling back in time with Street View

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HBD to us! Let’s celebrate with Street View adventures

by Pegman on May.24, 2022, 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

Street View is turning 15, and the birthday nostalgia is hitting us hard.

In 2007, we published our first Street View images of San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Miami and Denver. Since then, Street View cars equipped with cameras have captured and shared more than 220 billion Street View images and mapped 10 million miles — the equivalent of circling the globe more than 400 times! We’ve also captured Street View imagery inside cultural landmarks, high up in space and deep under the ocean.

To celebrate Street View’s 15th birthday, we’re sharing 15 amazing Street View collections — including three places the world’s been loving lately, four new collections (consider this our party favor to you), and Street View images that make us feel some kind of way. So raise your glasses — er, cursors — and let's cheers to exploring the world together.

Where you’ve been exploring and new places to go

With so many places and landmarks at your fingertips, three spots in particular piqued your interest over the past year. Here are the three most popular places to explore on Street View: head up to the 154th floor of the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates, which was named the world’s tallest building; the iconic Eiffel Tower in France, complete with dazzling views of Paris from the top; and our special collection of imagery from the Taj Mahal in India.

And for your next Street View excursions, we’ve started rolling out four new collections that we think will become all-time favorites.

A Street View image of the Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan

The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan: Thanks to new panoramic imagery, explore the ancient pyramids that are home to tombs of the kings and queens of the Kushite Kingdom.

A Street View image of the Crypt in the Duomo in Milan

The Duomo in Milan: The Duomo is the largest cathedral in Italy and the third-largest cathedral in Europe. Not to mention, it boasts one of the best views of Milan. We’ve been working with Google Arts & Culture and the Duomo of Milan since 2019 to bring imagery from inside the Duomo to Street View so that everyone can get a behind-the-scenes look at this architectural and cultural gem — and it’s now live!

A Street View image of Paris from Les Invalides’ golden dome

Les Invalides in Paris: Before the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides’ golden dome was the highest point in Paris. New images of the historic Hôtel des Invalides buildings let you explore its museums and monuments. Learn more about French military history viaa virtual tour.

Sydney Ferries in Australia: The iconic Sydney Ferries will soon be digitally preserved as a result of our work with Transport for New South Wales and Transdev. Later this year, we’ll bring this collection onto Street View so that people around the world can take a virtual tour of Sydney Ferries and get a glimpse of the journey along Sydney’s stunning harbor.

8 Street View images we love

With endless places to explore, it’s difficult to pick favorites — really, you should have seen the list we narrowed this down from — but we gave it our best shot. Here are eight Street View images we love.

Street View image of the active Ambrym Volcano Marum Crater

Does the thought of visiting an active volcano scare you? Us too! A New Zealand-based Googler took a trekker into the active Ambrym Volcano Marum Crater in Vanuatu so you don’t have to.

Street View image of a Greek town next to the ocean

Monemvasia is a Greek town that’s name is derived from two Greek words meaning “single entry.” Fittingly, there is only one way into this rock fortress. Explore the town on Street View without the headache of getting there.

Street View image of an empty chamber with a large chandelier

The Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland is a UNESCO site with a chamber where all decorative elements are made of salt.

Street View image of a grassy hill overlooking the ocean

Calling all scary movie buffs! Can you guess which 1998 horror film this active volcano in Japan served as a backdrop for? (Hint: the title rhymes with “The Wing.”)

Street View image of two camels in front of a castle in the rocks

Does Petra, Jordan look familiar? How about here? The filming location has made cameos in a number of movies, including “Aladdin,” “The Mummy Returns,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Street View image inside the International Space Station looking down at Earth.

Thanks to a collaboration with NASA, Street Viewers can get a taste of what it’s like to be an astronaut. Ditch the gravity and float through the International Space Station.

Street View image of sea lions swimming underwater.

Dive into the Pacific Ocean and swim with sea lions off the shore of the Galapagos Islands.

Street View image of a  person in a horse mask eating a banana next to a table on the side of the road

And if there’s one Street View image that lives in our heads rent free… it's this horse eating a banana on the side of the road in Canada.

We’re proud of the work we’ve done to capture so much of the world’s wonder, history and quirkiness in Street View. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shout out to all of the Maps users around the world who have captured and shared their own Street View imagery. To help make exploring the world together even easier, we’re launching Street View Studio — a new platform with all the tools you need to publish 360 image sequences quickly and in bulk. Check out more ways we’re advancing Street View so we can explore together for another 15 years.

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Step into the Meroë pyramids with Google

by Mariam Khaled Dabboussi on May.17, 2022, 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 you think of pyramids does your mind wander to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Mayan Temples of Guatemala? Great civilizations built each of these pyramids and inscribed their stories onto the walls of them, offering glimpses into their daily life.

The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan, while lesser known, are no different. Today, you can explore these stunning pyramids, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site, on Google Arts & Culture.

Over 200 pyramids were constructed in Meroë, the third and final capital of the Kushite Kingdom, an ancient African civilization that ruled the lands of Nubia for over 3000 years. Now you can take a virtual walk through the Pyramids of Meroë and explore the inscriptions using Street View’s panoramic imagery. You can also learn more about the Kushite Kingdom, their royalty and the architecture behind the pyramids in an immersive web experience that’s available in a range of languages including Arabic, English, French, German and Spanish.

If you want to get even more up close and personal, you can visualize the pyramids using augmented reality — no matter where you are. You can also listen to acclaimed Sudanese-American poet Emi Mahmoud share evocative rhymes that are a beautiful ode to her homeland and to this project that shares Sudan’s rich heritage with others.

We’ve also partnered with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO) to bring you more information about Meroë, Gebel Barkal and Napatan region and Sudan’s Sanganeb Marine National Park.

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Immersive view coming soon to Maps — plus more updates

by Miriam Daniel on May.11, 2022, 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

Google Maps helps over one billion people navigate and explore. And over the past few years, our investments in AI have supercharged the ability to bring you the most helpful information about the real world, including when a business is open and how crowded your bus is. Today at Google I/O, we announced new ways the latest advancements in AI are transforming Google Maps — helping you explore with an all-new immersive view of the world, find the most fuel-efficient route, and use the magic of Live View in your favorite third-party apps.

A more immersive, intuitive map

Google Maps first launched to help people navigate to their destinations. Since then, it’s evolved to become much more — it’s a handy companion when you need to find the perfect restaurant or get information about a local business. Today — thanks to advances in computer vision and AI that allow us to fuse together billions of Street View and aerial images to create a rich, digital model of the world — we’re introducing a whole new way to explore with Maps. With our new immersive view, you’ll be able to experience what a neighborhood, landmark, restaurant or popular venue is like — and even feel like you’re right there before you ever set foot inside. So whether you’re traveling somewhere new or scoping out hidden local gems, immersive view will help you make the most informed decisions before you go.

Say you’re planning a trip to London and want to figure out the best sights to see and places to eat. With a quick search, you can virtually soar over Westminster to see the neighborhood and stunning architecture of places, like Big Ben, up close. With Google Maps’ helpful information layered on top, you can use the time slider to check out what the area looks like at different times of day and in various weather conditions, and see where the busy spots are. Looking for a spot for lunch? Glide down to street level to explore nearby restaurants and see helpful information, like live busyness and nearby traffic. You can even look inside them to quickly get a feel for the vibe of the place before you book your reservation.

The best part? Immersive view will work on just about any phone and device. It starts rolling out in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo later this year with more cities coming soon.

Immersive view lets you explore and understand the vibe of a place before you go

An update on eco-friendly routing

In addition to making places easier to explore, we want to help you get there more sustainably. We recently launched eco-friendly routing in the U.S. and Canada, which lets you see and choose the most fuel-efficient route when looking for driving directions — helping you save money on gas. Since then, people have used it to travel 86 billion miles, saving more than an estimated half a million metric tons of carbon emissions — equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road. We’re on track to double this amount as we expand to more places, like Europe.

Still image of eco-friendly routing on Google Maps

Eco-friendly routing has helped save more than an estimated half a million metric tons of carbon emissions

The magic of Live View — now in your favorite apps

Live View helps you find your way when walking around, using AR to display helpful arrows and directions right on top of your world. It's especially helpful when navigating tricky indoor areas, like airports, malls and train stations. Thanks to our AI-based technology called global localization, Google Maps can point you where you need to go in a matter of seconds. As part of our efforts to bring the helpfulness of Google Maps to more places, we’re now making this technology available to developers at no cost with the new ARCore Geospatial API.

Developers are already using the API to make apps that are even more useful and provide an easy way to interact with both the digital and physical worlds at once. Shared electric vehicle company Lime is piloting the API in London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Madrid, San Diego, and Bordeaux to help riders park their e-bikes and e-scooters responsibly and out of pedestrians’ right of way. Telstra and Accenture are using it to help sports fans and concertgoers find their seats, concession stands and restrooms at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. DOCOMO and Curiosity are building a new game that lets you fend off virtual dragons with robot companions in front of iconic Tokyo landmarks, like the Tokyo Tower. The new Geospatial API is available now to ARCore developers, wherever Street View is available.

DOCOMO and Curiosity game showing an AR dragon, alien and spaceship interacting on top of a real-world image, powered by the ARCore Geospatial API.

Live View technology is now available to ARCore developers around the world

AI will continue to play a critical role in making Google Maps the most comprehensive and helpful map possible for people everywhere.

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Road tripping on Route 66

by Matthew Cruickshank on Apr.30, 2022, 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

Ninety-six years ago on April 30th, one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System was assigned its numerical designation of 66, creating what we know today as Route 66. But to say Route 66 is just a highway is a grave understatement. After all, it is the most-searched U.S. highway of all time.

One of the perks of working as a Doodler (I promise, it’s a real job) was getting to drive the 2,448-mile journey from Chicago to Los Angeles in my ‘72 Chevelle. I got to experience this captivating road trip firsthand, to create a Doodle celebrating Route 66.

This Doodle, which is essentially an animated sketchbook of various historic spots along the route, is the product of more than 100 paintings and sketches I created from the side of the road and countless U-turns. I remember being utterly lost one day, driving further and further down an old dirt road, when I finally saw an old man sitting on a lawn mower. “Is this Route 66?” I enquired. “Boy, this isn’t even Route 6!” he responded. Even the dead ends were interesting.

If this Doodle has you feeling inspired to take a trip across Route 66, we also caught up with a member of Google Maps’ Local Guides community who has some tips of his own to help you hit the road and explore.

Local tips from a Local Guide

Rhys Martin is a Level 6 Local Guide from Tulsa, Oklahoma who also serves as the President of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association. Having driven all 2,400 miles of the existing route, Rhys is passionate about adding photos and reviews to Google Maps that help raise awareness for the variety of experiences — from big cities and rural communities, to farmland, mountains, deserts, mom-and-pop motels and kitschy roadside attractions — a road trip down the historic highway provides. We asked him to share his best tips, tricks and recommendations to discover and experience his favorite spots along the route.

  • Discover local businesses along the route: By searching for something like “U.S Route 66 Restaurants” on Google Maps you can virtually explore restaurants or other businesses across all eight states along the route. This way, you can familiarize yourself with attractions, view how much certain restaurants cost, read reviews and even see popular menu items to help you choose places you want to visit.
  • Plan your road trip with Lists in Google Maps: Once you discover the places you’re interested in visiting, save them to a list that can serve as an itinerary so you can support local businesses — and help preserve history – along the route. You can even share your list with others, or make them collaborative so you can plan together!
  • A picture is worth a thousand words: Photographing the details of a place — like the decades-old neon signage or the original menus hanging behind the counter — and sharing them through reviews on Google Maps helps capture the essence of an establishment and helps others discover places they want to visit.

While Oklahoma has the most drivable miles of Route 66, Rhys says there’s so much to see in all eight states along the route. If you’re itching to plan the perfect summer road trip, check out a list of his must-see spots across Route 66 from Illinois to California.

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Ease back into your office routine with Google

by Mallory De Leon on Apr.30, 2022, 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

As many people start returning to the office, we know there’s a lot to (re)figure out — like what to wear on the first day back, how long your commute will take and how to stay productive. So we’re sharing some tips for getting back into the office groove with a little help from Google products.

Rebuild a routine

Google Assistant Routines can help you automate tasks so you have less to do and think about before you head to work. Just say "Hey Google, good morning" and your Assistant can share news, weather or traffic updates, tell you what’s on your calendar, and even get your smart coffee maker started on your morning brew. You can create a Routine based on a specific schedule or when the sun rises or sets every day.

Commute with confidence

Whether you usually hop on public transit, get behind the wheel or hit the pavement, your commute may have changed since the pandemic — or, like me, you might have just forgotten how long it takes. Check Google Maps to find the ideal time to commute and the greenest route for an eco-friendlier way to get to work.

Trying to get to the office by a certain time? Set the time you’re departing or want to arrive by to see how long it’ll take you to get to your destination (and to avoid getting stuck in traffic). The “Leave on Time” feature in Google Assistant Routines can also remind you when to leave, giving you the extra nudge to head out the door.

Find your new food spot

Once you get there, Google Maps can help you find the best (and most efficient) lunch options near your office.

Use Maps’ popular times and live busyness information to see when restaurants are most crowded and which spots are likely to seat you immediately. To save even more time, you can also scan popular dishes and photos on the restaurant’s Business Profile in advance.

If you’re getting takeout, no need to miss a meeting waiting around for your delivery in your office lobby or at the restaurant. Live takeout and delivery status information lets you see the expected wait time, delivery fee and status of your order right from the Maps app — so you can make the most of your workday.

A phone screen shows the arrival time of a food delivery for a restaurant through Google Maps.

Style comfortably

Heading back to the office but not ready to dust off your work clothes? You’re not alone. In fact, “how to style sweatpants” and “work-appropriate leggings” have both been trending on Google.

Search on Google Shopping and filter by style, like joggers or leggings, to find your own office-ready sweats. Pair that with “comfortable shoes for work,” currently the most-searched shoe query, and you’ll find the perfect blend of your work-from-home and office styles.

Meanwhile, this season’s hottest work accessories are right at your fingertips. Nails are in the top-five fashion searches for back-to-the-office shopping. Check out the manicure options yourself on Google Shopping.

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How AI and imagery build a self-updating map

by Liam Bolling on Apr.08, 2022, 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

Building a map is complex, and keeping it up-to-date is even more challenging. Think about how often your city, town or neighborhood changes on a day-to-day basis. Businesses and shops open and close, stretches of highway are added, and roadways change. In today’s Maps 101 installment, we’ll dive into two ways Google Maps uses advancements in AI and imagery to help you see the latest information about the world around you every single day.

Automatically updating business hours

Over the past few years, businesses have experienced a lot of change — including constantly updating operating hours based on changing pandemic-related restrictions. To keep up with this pace of change, we developed a machine learning model that automatically identifies if business hours are likely wrong, then instantly updates them with AI-generated predictions.

Let’s look at Liam’s Lemonade Shop as an example. To start, our systems consider multiple factors — such as when Liam last updated their business profile, what we know about other shops' hours, and the Popular Times information for the shop, which uses location trends to show when it tends to be busiest. Since it appears that Liam’s business profile hasn’t been updated in over a year and its busiest hours are typically Thursday afternoons — even though Google Maps says that it's closed at that time — Liam’s business hours are likely out of date.

Still images of a business' hours and Popular Times information on Google Maps

To see if business hours need updating, we check a store’s Popular Times information and when its business profile was last updated.

So what’s next? Our algorithms analyze the business hours of other nearby lemonade shops, information from Liam’s website, and Street View images of Liam’s storefront that look specifically for business hour signs to determine the most accurate business hour prediction. At the same time, we enlist the help of the Google Maps community — including Local Guides and even the business owners themselves through their Google Business Profile — to verify the information we predicted. In Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, and the United States, we also use Duplex conversational technology to call businesses just like Liam’s and ask for their hours directly. With this new AI-first approach, we’re on track to update the hours for over 20 million businesses around the globe in the next six months - helping you know exactly when your favorite store, restaurant or cafe is open for business .

Road information that reflects the real world

We’re also experimenting with ways we can use imagery to make updates to other helpful information. For instance, starting in the U.S., we’re launching a third-party imagery pilot to let you see the most up-to-date speed limit information in your town, which can help keep you safe while driving. Here’s how it works:

Say our systems think that the speed limit information on a particular highway needs to be updated. With the help of third-party imagery partners that already gather roadway imagery to improve delivery routes, we can request a photo of the specific stretch of road that also includes a speed limit sign. If the partner has this photo available, we then use a combination of AI and help from our operations team to identify the sign in the image, extract the new speed limit information, and update Google Maps.

Picture of an intersection that has a speed limit sign

Representative imagery featuring a speed limit sign, with license plates blurred

Over time, this technology will bring more details to the map that can help make your drives safer and more efficient — like where potholes and school zones are or where new construction is happening. And as with all Google Maps features, we designed this pilot with privacy top of mind. For instance, we only reference images taken on public roads, and partners are required to blur information (like faces and license plates) to avoid potentially identifying someone. For an extra layer of privacy, we blur the photo again when we receive it and delete the photo after we use it to update the map.

AI, imagery and Duplex technology will continue to play a critical role in helping make Google Maps the most comprehensive and useful map possible. For more behind-the-scenes looks at the technology that powers Google Maps, check out the rest of our Maps 101 blog series.

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