Google rolls out India-first AI capabilities for Maps

The additions in Google Maps are designed to meet the specific needs of Indian users to create a more user-friendly map experience, says the company.

Google rolls out India-first AI capabilities for Maps

Tuesday December 19, 2023,

3 min Read

Tech giant Google has rolled out AI-powered India-first features for Google Maps.

The additions, including address descriptors, lens in maps, live view walking navigation, and enhanced fuel-efficient routing, are designed to meet the specific needs of Indian users to create a more user-friendly map experience, said the company.

“AI has accelerated our ability to build solutions that can scale to the diversity and complexity of a country like India. As we look to the future of Google Maps, we’re committed to building a map that helps people go from knowing about a place to truly experiencing it,” said Miriam Karthika Daniel, VP - Google Maps Experiences.

Here are the details on the new features.

Address Descriptors

This feature will allow people to find locations based on landmarks. By using machine learning signals, Google Maps will automatically identify and display up to five relevant landmarks when a user drops a pin while sharing a location. The feature will roll out across India early next year.

Lens in Maps

By simply pointing the camera down a street, users can instantly access information about nearby restaurants and cafes, including opening hours, ratings, reviews, and photos. Google will launch this feature in 15 Indian cities by January 2024, starting with Android users.

Live View Walking

The feature will assist those who prefer to walk. Users can see arrows, directions, and distance markers overlaid on the Google Maps screen, providing quick guidance on the right direction to head. The company will roll out the navigation feature in over 3,000 cities and towns across India, beginning with Android users.

Fuel-efficient routing feature

From January, users can access the fuel-efficient routing feature for both four-wheelers and two-wheelers. Leveraging AI to analyse real-time traffic data, road elevation, and vehicle engine type, Google Maps will identify routes that minimise fuel consumption and emissions.

Partnership with ONDC, Namma Yatri

Google has also announced partnerships with Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC)and Namma Yatri to bring metro schedules and bookings to users.

The initiative will launch by mid-2024, starting with the Kochi Metro on Google Maps, powered by Namma Yatri. Other metros will follow suit as they join the ONDC network.

"Together, our pilot initiative with Kochi Metro and Namma Yatri sets the stage for a more efficient and discoverable transportation landscape. Furthermore, our collaboration with Google Maps holds the promise of unlocking new levels of accessibility," said T Koshy, MD and CEO at ONDC.

Google is also expanding the 'Where Is My Train' app to Mumbai and Kolkata local trains to provide users with real-time status updates, train location, and platform changes.

Edited by Suman Singh