Google Maps gets AR indoor navigation, new eco-friendly route options

Google Maps has announced a slew of new features coming soon, ranging from on-map weather updates to AR-powered indoor navigation. There’s a lot to cover, and the company says it is on track to deliver “over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps” this year.

First, there’s a new UI for directions. Today, the direction UI uses tabs for each transportation type: one for driving, then mass transit, walking, ride shares, and biking. In this redesign, everything appears in a flat list, but now you can hit the “options” button and set preferred modes of transportation. You can prioritize routing options for driving, walking, trains, buses, motorcycles, bikes, ride shares, “bike and scooter shares,” and ferries. You can even pick multiple items, so all your top choices will be first in the list.

Some of the route options will have a little green leaf next to them, which is part of Google Maps’ new focus on promoting cleaner methods of transportation. For driving, Google Maps’ routing screen will soon take into account fuel efficiency, and you’ll start to see a green leaf next to the fuel-efficient routes, too. For many places, the shortest route is the most fuel-efficient, so not much will change. But Google Maps will calculate things like traffic, starts and stops, and road elevation (a major concern in Google’s backyard of California) to come up with a CO2 rating for each trip. If it finds a route that is more fuel-efficient but longer, it will tell you about it, and if both routes take the same amount of time, fuel efficiency will be used as the tiebreaker for the default route.

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