Tag Archives: Maps

Want the best prices for your trip? Google can help.

We’re already a week into August, but there’s still time to book a trip before summer ends--or to get a jump start on holiday travel planning. After you’ve decided where to go for your next trip, these new features can help you get the best price and make travel planning a little simpler. 

Book flights with more confidence

When it comes to finding flights, it’s hard to know what the “right” price is--and even harder to know when to book. We already show you whether prices for a flight route are high, low or typical. Starting today you may see the same insights for your exact itinerary. Plus, for some flights we’ll show you how the price has changed over the past few months and notify you when we predict the price may go up soon or won’t get any lower. 

Flight price insights

On top of this, we’re taking an additional step to give you more confidence when booking a flight. When we predict the price won’t decrease for select itineraries booked between August 13 and September 2, we’ll guarantee the price won’t drop, and we’ll refund you the difference if it does. 

We’ll monitor the price for you and if the price drops any time before departure, we’ll send you an email letting you know once your flight takes off--so there’s no work on your end. This feature is available for select itineraries originating in the U.S. with domestic or international destinations.

Flights price guarantee

Get suggestions to continue planning your trip

If you book a flight and receive a confirmation in Gmail, you’ll see your upcoming trip when you go to google.com/travel. Starting this week, we’ll assist you with recommendations for next steps—such as searching for hotels, restaurants and things to do. When you click on your trip, you’ll see your flights have been automatically added to a timeline. If you haven’t received a confirmation in Gmail for some of your trip reservations, you can now easily add them to your timeline.

Trips Recommendations

Find the best neighborhood, and hotel, for you

When you’re booking a hotel, you may need intel on neighborhoods to stay in and what you’ll expect to pay. In the next few weeks, you’ll see helpful information about top neighborhoods, the best time to visit and typical hotel prices at the top of your hotel results on desktop at google.com/travel globally. 

Let’s say you’re planning a trip to Paris. Once you’ve searched for hotels for your destination and dates, click on “Where to stay” at the top of your hotel results. For each neighborhood you’ll see a description, the average price and more. You’ll be able to filter your results for hotels in a specific neighborhood. 

Hotels market insights

We’ll also help you pick the best place to stay by showing you personalized hotel results including places you’ve searched for or stayed at before, and hotels that are close to points of interest you’ve searched for. 

When you’re ready to go on your trip, you can now use Google Maps to access your travel reservations, explore the city you’re visiting or navigate from place to place. Read more about the new features that make Google Maps the perfect travel companion here. Whether you’re looking for the best flight prices and neighborhood for your stay, or you’re on-the-go during your trip, Google can help with your travel needs from start to finish.

Source: Google LatLong

Take off to your next destination with Google Maps

Not only does Google Maps help you navigate, explore, and get things done at home, but it’s also a powerful travel companion. After you’ve booked your trip, these new tools will simplify every step of your trip once you’ve touched down–from getting around a new city to reliving every moment once you’re home.

Get organized

Now, you can use Google Maps to see all of your flight and hotel reservations in one place–a lifesaver when you’re checking in at the airport or en route to the next hotel in your destination. Simply tap on the three gray lines at the top left corner of your screen, and then on “Your Places”. Then, hit the “Reservations” tab where you’ll see a list of your upcoming trips. Selecting your trip will instantly pull up your reservations, and you can even access them if you’re offline, so no need to worry if you’re off the grid with no service or traveling internationally without a data plan.

trip reservations

See your flight and hotels reservations right from Google Maps

Get around confidently 

There’s nothing like exploring a city on foot–it’s a great way to take in the sights and sounds of a new place. But it can be hard to know exactly which direction to go. With a beta feature called Live View, you can use augmented reality (AR) to better see which way to walk. Arrows and directions are placed in the real world to guide your way. We’ve tested Live View with the Local Guides and Pixel community over the past few months, and are now expanding the beta to Android and iOS devices that support ARCore and ARKit starting this week.

ARWN_Paris map.gif

Use Live View to see the way you need to go in a new city

Find amazing local food

Real talk: Food is one of the main highlights of any vacation. With Google Maps, you can quickly find restaurants tailored to your tastes with Your Match, see how long the wait is, and even book a reservation without ever leaving the app (and no, we’re not talking about delicious dinner apps). With the popular dishes feature, you can quickly find out what the must-try items on the menu are.

your match travel

Find restaurants with Your Match


See when a restaurant is most crowded, book a table, and find the most popular dishes

Soak in the memories and share them with friends

The best part about any life-changing trip? Reliving the memories, and sharing them with loved ones. If you’ve chosen to turn your Location History setting on, you can now use the updated version of Timeline to easily remember that amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurant you dined at or the cute vintage shop you popped into. You’ll also be able to see all of the places you went to in a country or a city, and even drill down to the categories of places you visited–including restaurants, shops, attractions, hotels and airports. So the next time someone asks you for trip recommendations, you can easily export the places you loved to a list, make notes about exactly what you liked (like the great picnic spot by the Louvre), and share that list with friends and family. 


Use Timeline to remember your trip and share recommendations with friends

You can expect to see flight and hotel reservations, Live View (in countries where Street View is available), and the new Timeline on your phones in the coming weeks. Reservations and Live View are coming to Android and iOS, and the new Timeline is available on Android. To learn more about Google Maps, check out our website.

Source: Google LatLong

Hip-hop dancers show Paris in a new light on Street View

Editor's note: Sandrine Lescourant, also known as Mufasa, is an award-winning hip-hop and contemporary dancer in Paris. Today, she shares why she wanted to use Street View as a stage for dance. 

When I see videos of myself dancing, it’s hard to imagine that person was once a shy girl from the outskirts of Paris. Thanks to hip-hop, I’ve found my path, and now I seek to help others do the same by encouraging them to use dance as a vehicle for expression. 

When Google’s Street View team asked if I’d like to show Paris and its iconic Gare de Lyon train station with the world through the lens of dance, I immediately said yes. 

In this image collection, there are 360-degree images of me and my little sister, Jade Fehlmann, as we dance to Tismé Beats through the Gare de Lyon train station. Bringing our energy and creativity to these places was an unforgettable experience.

This year marks the Gare de Lyon train station’s 170th anniversary, reminding us that for nearly two centuries it has been a place that connects people to different places, new experiences and each other. Every time I’m here, I’m inspired by how people move through the space and the energy inside of it. 

Not only does this collection give a sneak peek into this Parisian landmark, but it also gives a glimpse into what dance means to a woman like me. I use dance to fight against injustice and create hope and unity. I wish to help the next generation of dancers find the beauty in themselves and the world around them through dance.

I hope you enjoy seeing my friends and I dance through Gare De Lyon in Street View. If there's a place that matters to you, you can add your own Street View imagery to Google Maps to show the world your view. 

Local Guides made me see my hometown in a whole new way

I’m a proud and lifelong New Yorker. I’ve seen and done a lot in New York City through all my years of living here, but one of the beauties of living here is that you’re always able to see and do something new. The possibilities are endless. 

With the help and recommendations of Google Local Guides, I had the opportunity to explore my city in a new way. Local Guides are the people who share reviews, photos and more on Google Maps to help you uncover the best parts of your city. Through the recommendations they’ve shared on what to eat, see and do, I discovered everything from the best bagels to the best free activity in town. 

Hands-down, my favorite part of this experience was checking out the best view of Manhattan at Cantor Roof Garden Bar on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Local Guides recommended this for an awesome view that isn’t swarming with tourists. There’s nothing like taking in the New York City skyline with an ice-cold drink in hand, surrounded by a beautiful garden and sculptures.

I also got to check out some unique, quirky and decidedly non-touristy souvenirs at Fishs Eddy, where local artists are behind many of the designs. And of course, I ate some of the most delicious food New York City has to offer, including the classic matzo ball soup from Russ & Daughters Cafe and an unlimited table-side service of pasta at Becco in Times Square. 

It was refreshing to see my city with a new perspective. I assumed I'd seen it all, but I learned I needed to open my mind to new experiences. Being a tourist in my own city gave me a new appreciation for the things I walk past every day. If you want to see all the spots I visited while taking in New York City, you can watch the video and follow this Google Maps list full of Local Guides’ recommendations. That way you can experience New York like a local, even if you’re not one.

Google Maps 101: how we map the world

The world is a beautiful, messy, constantly changing place—roads are added, buildings are built, and new businesses are opened all the time. Our role on the Google Maps team is to accurately model and reflect this ever-evolving world, and we’re often asked how we make a map that does that. The answer is, it takes a number of different steps, and the right mix of people, techniques and technology.

In a series of posts over the coming months, we’ll give you a closer look at how we build our map—diving deep into each of the elements we use to help more than one billion people navigate, explore and get things done. Today, we’ll start with an overview of the basics.

It all starts with imagery 

Street View and satellite imagery have long been an important part of how we’re able to identify where places are in the world—it shows us where roadways, buildings, addresses and businesses are located in a region, in addition to other important details—such as the town’s speed limits or business names. In 2007, Street View launched to help people virtually explore the entire world, from the depths of Antarctica to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. In the 12 years since then, our Street View car and trekker operations have collected more than 170 billion images from 87 countries. Thanks to our newest trekker that is equipped with higher-resolution sensors and increased aperture, we’ve significantly improved the quality of imagery we capture. 

SV trekker

A Street View trekker

Then you add data

Authoritative data brings the map to life. Our data comes from more than 1,000 third-party sources from all over the world. Some, like the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) in Mexico, provide information about an entire country. Others are specific to smaller regions, like data from a local municipality, an NGO or a housing developer. Our teams carefully vet every authoritative data source to ensure that we have the most accurate and up-to-date data available. And recently, we introduced a new tool to make it easier for local governments to upload dataabout new roads and addresses in their area, right to Google Maps. 


Road outlines from one of our data partners, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography.

A human touch 

Data and imagery are key components of mapmaking, but they’re static and can’t always keep up with the pace of how quickly the world changes. This brings us to the third piece: the people that help us tie everything together. We have a data operations team staffed all over the world that plays a role in just about every aspect of mapmaking, from gathering Street View images and vetting authoritative data sources to correcting the map for inaccuracies and training machine learning models (more on that in a second). 

We also have our community of Local Guides and Google Maps users, whom we empower to correct the map via the Send Feedback button in Google Maps. Our team reviews the information and publishes it if we have a high degree of confidence that it matches the roads, businesses and addresses in the real world.


Our data operations team at work

Speeding things up with machine learning 

Imagery, authoritative data and human input have gotten us to where we are, but we want to make our maps more useful to more people even faster. To increase the speed of our mapping, we turn to machine learning. Machine learning allows our team to automate our mapping processes, while maintaining high levels of accuracy. 

Let’s look at how we map building outlines as an example. Previously, an algorithm that tried to guess whether part of an image was a building or not resulted in what we dubbed “fuzzy buildings”—amorphous blobs that didn’t look like real buildings when you draw them on a map. And this was an issue—buildings are more than just buildings—they’re landmarks and a key part of how someone knows where they are when looking at a map. To fix this, we worked with our data operations team to trace common building outlines manually, and then used this information to teach our machine learning algorithms which images correspond with building edges and shapes. This technique proved effective, enabling us to map as many buildings in one year as we mapped in the previous 10. 


Fuzzy building outlines on Google Maps.

clear buildings

Clear building polygons outlined on the map.

We’re in it for the long haul 

Maps are critical to helping communities thrive. They connect people with each other, help grow economies as people discover new businesses and restaurants, and help people get things done. Although we’ve come a long way, with maps in more than 220 countries and territories to date, we know that our work is far from over. Different regions have different needs, and their own mapping challenges. In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at how one component—imagery—helps us overcome these challenges.

Source: Google LatLong

A moonlit tribute to a moon landing icon

“There was no choice but to be pioneers.” 

That’s how Margaret Hamilton describes working on the software that put us on the moon. Margaret led the team that developed the onboard flight software for all of NASA’s manned Apollo missions, including Apollo 11’s historic moon landing.

With the anniversary of that moon landing approaching, Google set out to shine a light on Margaret’s influence on Apollo, and on the field of software engineering itself. The tribute was created by positioning over 107,000 mirrors at the Ivanpah Solar Facility in the Mojave Desert to reflect the light of the moon, instead of the sun, like the mirrors normally do. The result is a 1.4-square-mile portrait of Margaret, bigger than New York’s Central Park.

At the MIT Instrumentation Lab in the 1960s, Margaret was working on code for the Apollo Guidance Computer. A working mom, she sometimes did what a lot of us do: she took her daughter, Lauren, to the office. Margaret would often test programs in the simulator, and Lauren liked to play astronaut like her mom. One day, Lauren crashed the simulator after she pressed a button that set off a prelaunch program while the mission was in mid-flight. 

Margaret didn’t scold Lauren. Instead, she was struck with a thought: “What if an astronaut did the same thing during a real mission?” Margaret lobbied to add code that would prevent a system crash from actually happening if he did. 

This way of thinking came to define Margaret’s work. She’d always ask, “What if something you never thought would happen, happens?” Then, she’d develop and test a system that would be prepared for that scenario.

Her “what if” mindset was crucial throughout the Apollo missions, where the software had to work perfectly, and had to work the first time, in space. Keep in mind, this was at a time when software engineering literally wasn’t even a thing yet—Margaret herself coined the phrase “software engineering” while working on Apollo.

A portrait of Margaret Hamilton

Margaret, in 1969, standing beside the listings of the actual Apollo Guidance Computer source code. Photo courtesy of the MIT Museum.

Margaret’s mindset most famously paid off moments before Apollo 11 was set to land. The guidance computer was overwhelmed with tasks and underwent a series of restarts, triggering alarms that could have forced an abort. But the team’s software was reliable, and the priority display (that Margaret created, and fought to include) let the astronauts and Mission Control know what they were dealing with. The Eagle was able to land safely, and Neil Armstrong was able to take that one small step.

As the anniversary of that historic moment approaches, we can all thank Margaret for her part in it. But I find myself thanking her for so much more:

For pioneering the field of software engineering. A field that has changed our world. 

For reminding us to think always of the user, and to keep pushing to make software more reliable, and more helpful, for them. 

For inspiring us all to take moonshots, showing us what’s possible when you work tirelessly toward them, and demonstrating what magic can come when you allow a child’s perspective to change the way you think about the world. 

Want to learn more about Margaret and the moon landing? Check out Google Arts & Culture for all kinds of Apollo 11 anniversary stories, including an article about  Margaret. Want to teach Margaret’s story in your class? Download a Common Core aligned lesson plan.

Real-time bikeshare information in Google Maps rolls out to 24 cities

Bikesharing is booming as this two-wheeled technology transforms how people get from A to B in cities around the planet. With an estimated 1,600 bikeshare systems and more than 18 million shared bikes in urban centers worldwide, bikesharing has gone mainstream. And for good reason--it’s a convenient, affordable, fun and hassle-free way to get around. 

For the past year, travellers and commuters in New York City have been using Google Maps to both locate bikesharing stations and see exactly how many bikes are available at a station in real-time. Today, we’re rolling out this feature to a total of 24 cities in 16 countries.

bikeshare system in Google Maps

Search for a bikeshare system in Google Maps to see available bikes nearby.

From New Taipei City to Toronto, you can now use Google Maps to locate bikeshare stations and pinpoint how many bikes are available near you. You can also find out whether there’s an empty space at a station near your destination for you to leave your bike. This is all made possible by incorporating a new global bike share data feed directly into Google Maps, thanks to a partnership with Ito World.

Whether you’re traveling in a new city or planning your daily commute, Google Maps is making it easier to weigh all your transportation options with real-time information. Just like how we show you when buses and trains are coming and going in Google Maps, you’ll now know which bikeshare stations have a bike ready for you. 

This bird’s eye view into bikesharing is now available in Google Maps on Android and iOS in the following cities globally with more on the way: Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Dublin, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kaohsiung, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Madrid, Mexico City, Montreal, New Taipei City, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco Bay Area, São Paulo, Toronto, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich.

Transit crowdedness trends from around the world, according to Google Maps

Crowdedness predictions come from optional feedback directly from the people who use Google Maps. In fact, you may have received notifications asking about how crowded your subway, train, or bus ride was after navigating in transit mode. To learn more about how crowdedness levels vary around the world, we analyzed aggregated and anonymized reports of crowdedness from Google Maps users from October 2018 to June 2019 during peak commuting hours (6am - 10am), and identified which lines had the highest number of crowdedness reports. Here’s what we found: 

ranked_crowded cities
  • When it comes to the most-crowded transit lines, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo dominate the rankings–each city has 3 lines in the top 10.

  • New York’s famed L train–which, until recently, was on the verge of closing for repair– is the only U.S. transit line to make it into the top 10.

Among many U.S. cities, the most-crowded public transit routes are buses. In Los Angeles, for example, bus routes 152, 105, and 704 are among the most-crowded.

Source: Google LatLong

Grab a seat and be on time with new transit updates on Google Maps

On days when everything runs smoothly, taking public transit is one of the best ways to get around town. Not only is it cost-effective and efficient, but it also lets you stay hands free so you can sit back, relax and maybe even read a few chapters of your favorite book. But unexpected delays or overcrowded vehicles can quickly turn your ride from enjoyable to stressful. Starting today, Google Maps is rolling out two new features to help you better plan for your transit ride and stay more comfortable along the way. 

Live traffic delays for buses

When you have an important meeting, a date with a friend, or a doctor’s appointment, often the first thing you’ll do is check the transit schedule to make sure you can make it on time. Unfortunately, transit schedules don’t always reflect real-time traffic conditions that impact your ride, which can cause a lot of unnecessary stress when you end up arriving later than you thought you would. 

To solve for this, Google Maps is launching live traffic delays for buses in places where we don’t already have real-time information direct from local transit agencies. You’ll now be able to see if your bus will be late, how long the delay will be, and more accurate travel times based on live traffic conditions along your route. You’ll also see exactly where the delays are on the map so you know what to expect before you even hop on your bus. 


Live traffic delays for buses

Crowdedness predictions

There’s nothing more uncomfortable than being packed like a can of sardines on a hot, sweaty train. We’re introducing transit crowdedness predictions so you can see how crowded your bus, train or subway is likely to be based on past rides. Now you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to squeeze on, or wait a few more minutes for a vehicle where you’re more likely to snag a seat.


Crowdedness predictions in transit navigation

You’ll start to see these features roll out on Google Maps in nearly 200 cities around the globe on both Android and iOS today. Interested in learning more about crowdedness trends in your area? Check it out in this post.

Source: Google LatLong

How we fight fake business profiles on Google Maps

Google Maps helps people explore, navigate and get things done—and increasingly people are using Google Maps to find local businesses. Over the years, we’ve added more than 200 million places to Google Maps and every month we connect people to businesses more than nine billion times, including more than one billion phone calls and three billion requests for directions. 

To help people find the places and businesses they're looking for—both big and small—Local Guides, business owners and people using Maps every day can contribute to business information. We get millions of contributions each day (like new business profiles, reviews, star ratings, and more) and the vast majority of these contributions are helpful and accurate. But occasionally, business scammers take advantage of local listings to make a profit. They do things like charge business owners for services that are actually free, defraud customers by posing as real businesses, and impersonate real businesses to secure leads and then sell them. Even though fake business profiles are a small percentage of the overall business profiles on Google, local business scammers have been a thorn in the internet’s side for over a decade. They even existed back when business listings were printed, bound and delivered to your doorstep. We take these issues very seriously and have been using a wide array of techniques and approaches to limit abuse on our platforms. 

These scammers use a wide range of deceptive techniques to try to game our system—as we shut them down, they change their techniques, and the cycle continues. Although it’s important that we make it easy for legitimate businesses to get their business profiles on Google, we’ve also implemented strict policies and created tools that enable people to flag these issues so we can take action. It’s a constant balancing act and we’re continually working on new and better ways to fight these scams using a variety of ever-evolving manual and automated systems. But we can’t share too many details about these efforts without running the risk of actually helping scammers find new ways to beat our systems—which defeats the purpose of all the work we do. 

We understand the concerns of those people and businesses impacted by local business scammers and back in 2017 we announced the progress we’d made. There was still work to be done then and there’s still work to be done now. We have an entire team dedicated to addressing these issues and taking constant action to remove profiles that violate our policies. Here’s more information about the progress we made against this type of abuse last year:  

  • We took down more than 3 million fake business profiles––and more than 90 percent of those business profiles were removed before a user could even see the profile. 

  • Our internal systems were responsible for more than 85 percent of these removals. 

  • More than 250,000 of the fake business profiles we removed were reported to us by users. 

  • We disabled more than 150,000 user accounts that were found to be abusive – a 50 percent increase from 2017. 

This year, we’ve already introduced a new way to report suspicious business profiles and have started to apply refined techniques to business categories where we’re seeing an increase in fraud attempts. To help foster a healthy ecosystem, we’re also donating settlement funds from litigation against bad actors to organizations that educate businesses and consumers about fraud. As we continue to fight against fraud, we’re making sure people people can flag issues when they see them. Here’s how: 

Every month Maps is used by more than a billion people around the world, and every day we and our users work as a community to improve the map for each other. We know that a small minority will continue trying to scam others, so there will always be work to do and we’re committed to keep doing better.