Category Archives: Google LatLong Blog

News and notes by the Google Earth and Maps team

The complete Google guide to summer 2021

The sun is shining, the days are getting longer and more and more U.S. cities are reopening — it’s official, summer 2021 is almost here. Right on time, vacation fever has hit: Google searches for “summer vacation” and “sunscreen” are seeing a major spike, and those are just a couple of the many interesting Google Trends we’ve been seeing. So we decided to collect some of this information to bring you Google’s Guide to Summer: You’ll find trending travel spots, must-eat-at restaurants and tips for finding the perfect summer gear. 

To find what places are turning into vacation destinations, we looked at places with the highest percentage growth in hotel searches, comparing April 2021 to April 2019. These 10 cities saw the biggest bump in interest: 

Infographic showing the top 10 trending vacation destinations.

If you’re planning a trip to one of these places, the next step is deciding where to eat while you’re there. Hidden Gem restaurants are verified restaurants on Google Maps with high ratings from fewer people — which could help you avoid crowds and get an amazing meal. Check out these Hidden Gems from each of the cities listed above: 

Infographic listing the top three hidden gem restaurants in each top tending vacation destination.

If you’re not ready to travel by plane, you’re not alone. Many people are looking into alternative transportation options or even local options, such as… 

  • 🚌Glamour-BUS travels:In the U.S., there are over 60% more RV-related searches on Google Maps than there were a year ago. The metro areas most interested were Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas and Denver. 

  • 🏖️ Beachy keen:As the weather heats up, U.S. Maps searches for “beaches” are up over 40% compared to May 2020, and searches for "parks" are up over 50%. 

  • 🏕Happy campers: Camping-related searches on Maps are trending up nearly 90% compared to this time last year. The top five areas interested in camping are Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Denver and Seattle.

  • 🚲 Tourists on tires: People are using Google Maps for cycling directions 44% more than they were in 2020. According to our cycling direction data, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. are the cities with the most cyclists. 

Infographic showing the top airline alternative forms of travel.

Whether you hit the road (or skies) or stay put, you’ll want to grab the right gear. Try these Google Shopping power tips to find whatever you need for summer:

  • Check if you’re getting a “good” price on that retro cooler: On a Shopping product page, you’ll see a price bar showing whether the price you’re seeing for that product is high, low or typical, compared to current prices from across the web and in nearby stores.

  • See if an inflatable pool (or whatever else) is in stock at local stores:With Google Shopping, you can search for a product, like inflatable pools, and apply the “Nearby” filter (or include “near me” in your search) to show results from local retailers on a helpful map display, along with an indication of whether the product is in-stock. 

Image showing a popsicle floatie floating in a pool.
  • Compare prices and shipping options for a summer koozie:Once you’ve found your favorite koozie, scroll down on the product page and tap “Compare prices” to see all of the prices and shipping options from online and local retailers for that product. You’ll also see whether a retailer offers curbside pickup and/or the option to buy online/pickup in store.

  • Use filters to find the perfect sunscreen (or other beauty products):On Google Shopping you can easily use filters to find the type of product you’re looking for. When you search “sunscreen” you can simply scroll down and on the left hand side you’ll find rating filters under “Product Rating” such as four stars and above.

  • Get summer picnic or beach ideas and see product availability on Google:Google Images is a great place to find summer inspo. You can see availability information so you know if the item you're looking for is actually in stock. You can even use Lens to find that retro beach towel or picnic blanket your friend or your favorite celeb has. Once you find it, Google will give you options for how to buy it.

Consider yourself set for the summer!

Source: Google LatLong


The complete Google guide to summer 2021

The sun is shining, the days are getting longer and more and more U.S. cities are reopening — it’s official, summer 2021 is almost here. Right on time, vacation fever has hit: Google searches for “summer vacation” and “sunscreen” are seeing a major spike, and those are just a couple of the many interesting Google Trends we’ve been seeing. So we decided to collect some of this information to bring you Google’s Guide to Summer: You’ll find trending travel spots, must-eat-at restaurants and tips for finding the perfect summer gear. 

To find what places are turning into vacation destinations, we looked at places with the highest percentage growth in hotel searches, comparing April 2021 to April 2019. These 10 cities saw the biggest bump in interest: 

Infographic showing the top 10 trending vacation destinations.

If you’re planning a trip to one of these places, the next step is deciding where to eat while you’re there. Hidden Gem restaurants are verified restaurants on Google Maps with high ratings from fewer people — which could help you avoid crowds and get an amazing meal. Check out these Hidden Gems from each of the cities listed above: 

Infographic listing the top three hidden gem restaurants in each top tending vacation destination.

If you’re not ready to travel by plane, you’re not alone. Many people are looking into alternative transportation options or even local options, such as… 

  • 🚌Glamour-BUS travels:In the U.S., there are over 60% more RV-related searches on Google Maps than there were a year ago. The metro areas most interested were Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas and Denver. 

  • 🏖️ Beachy keen:As the weather heats up, U.S. Maps searches for “beaches” are up over 40% compared to May 2020, and searches for "parks" are up over 50%. 

  • 🏕Happy campers: Camping-related searches on Maps are trending up nearly 90% compared to this time last year. The top five areas interested in camping are Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Denver and Seattle.

  • 🚲 Tourists on tires: People are using Google Maps for cycling directions 44% more than they were in 2020. According to our cycling direction data, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C. are the cities with the most cyclists. 

Infographic showing the top airline alternative forms of travel.

Whether you hit the road (or skies) or stay put, you’ll want to grab the right gear. Try these Google Shopping power tips to find whatever you need for summer:

  • Check if you’re getting a “good” price on that retro cooler: On a Shopping product page, you’ll see a price bar showing whether the price you’re seeing for that product is high, low or typical, compared to current prices from across the web and in nearby stores.

  • See if an inflatable pool (or whatever else) is in stock at local stores:With Google Shopping, you can search for a product, like inflatable pools, and apply the “Nearby” filter (or include “near me” in your search) to show results from local retailers on a helpful map display, along with an indication of whether the product is in-stock. 

Image showing a popsicle floatie floating in a pool.
  • Compare prices and shipping options for a summer koozie:Once you’ve found your favorite koozie, scroll down on the product page and tap “Compare prices” to see all of the prices and shipping options from online and local retailers for that product. You’ll also see whether a retailer offers curbside pickup and/or the option to buy online/pickup in store.

  • Use filters to find the perfect sunscreen (or other beauty products):On Google Shopping you can easily use filters to find the type of product you’re looking for. When you search “sunscreen” you can simply scroll down and on the left hand side you’ll find rating filters under “Product Rating” such as four stars and above.

  • Get summer picnic or beach ideas and see product availability on Google:Google Images is a great place to find summer inspo. You can see availability information so you know if the item you're looking for is actually in stock. You can even use Lens to find that retro beach towel or picnic blanket your friend or your favorite celeb has. Once you find it, Google will give you options for how to buy it.

Consider yourself set for the summer!

Source: Google LatLong


Street by street: How we’re mapping air quality in Europe

Since 2015, dozens of Street View cars outfitted with pollution sensors have been cruising the roads to track air quality in cities all over the world — from Oakland to Sydney. Over the past six years, these cars have collected more than 100 million street-by-street air quality measurements, all for Project Air View — our effort to bring detailed air quality maps to scientists, policymakers and everyday people. These hyperlocal air quality measurements are helping governments and communities make more informed choices about changes that can help city residents breathe cleaner air.


In celebration of EU Green Week next week,we are sharing a new air quality map for Copenhagen and recently started working with the City of Dublin to collect air quality measurements with Aclima technology in our first-ever, all-electric Street View car. This is all part of Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), our free tool that provides thousands of cities with actionable data and insights to reduce their emissions.


Capturing air quality in Copenhagen

In 2018, we started mapping hyperlocal air quality in Copenhagen, working closely with the City of Copenhagen and Utrecht University, in collaboration with Aarhus University. The map — which is already being put to use —  includes measurements of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), black carbon, and ultrafine particles. Through mapping street-by-street air quality we found that Copenhagen’s major access roads have nearly three times more ultrafine particles and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and five times higher black carbon levels when compared to less trafficked residential areas.
This air quality map shows the street-by-street average of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Utrecht University & Google, 2021.

This air quality map shows the street-by-street average of nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Utrecht University & Google, 2021.

Armed with these air quality insights, the City of Copenhagen and urban planners are working to design future neighborhoods that include “Thrive Zones.” These zones aim to build places, like schools and playgrounds, away from high-pollution zones to provide young children with access to cleaner air. The city also plans to use the air quality data to encourage more sustainable transportation and create healthier bicycle and walking routes away from car traffic.


An all-electric Street View car hits the road in Dublin

We’ve also partnered with the City of Dublin to gather hyperlocal air quality measurements in Ireland’s capital, where our first all-electric Street View vehicle, a Jaguar I-PACE, has hit the roads. This is the first time an all-electric Google Street View car is being used to capture air pollution and greenhouse gas measurements and Google Street View imagery — a feat made possible due to Jaguar Land Rover engineers integrating Google's Street View technology and specialized Aclima sensors into the vehicle.

Our Jaguar I-PACE is able to measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitric oxide (NO), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and ozone (O3). Aclima’s platform analyzes and quality assures pollution measurements to develop these maps.


The road ahead

Project Air View’s air quality insights will be integrated into the European Commission-funded  European Expanse project, which is exploring how pollution is impacting the health of Europeans and how hyperlocal air quality measurement efforts can inform policy development.


We also plan to equip more Street View cars with air quality mapping capabilities so that we can continue sharing hyperlocal air quality insights. By mapping air quality in more cities, we can equip people with the information they need to create more sustainable cities that protect the health of everyone.


Source: Google LatLong


How anyone can make Maps more accessible

With Google Maps, we want to make it easier to get around, explore and get things done for everyone  — and that includes people with disabilities. One way that we make sure our Maps have up-to-date information about details, like if a restaurant has tables suitable for people who use wheelchairs, is through our community of Local Guides. In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we’re sharing tips from some of these people about how anyone can contribute to a more accessible world — both on and off of the map.

Make an accessibility checklist for your reviews

When you add a review on Google Maps you can create your own template or accessibility checklist to make sure you have the most helpful details covered.

Tushar Suradkar, a Local Guide from India, created a system that helps him make sure all of his reviews covers the accessibility details he cares about — like if a place has tactile paths for the visually impaired, ramp access, and wheelchair-accessible entrances, restrooms, parking and elevators. Each time he leaves a review, he fills in a self-created template that makes these details clear and noticeable so people looking for this information can spot it.
A screenshot of a review on Google Maps from Local Guide Tushar Suradkar showing his accessibility checklist.

Tushar’s accessibility checklist used on Google Maps reviews.

Add accessibility attributes to your business or places you’ve visited

After visiting a place or business, you can help indicate which accessibility features a place has — like whether it has a wheelchair-accessible entrance, wheelchair-accessible restroom, wheelchair-accessible parking — by answering questions about the business on the Google Maps app.  

And if you’re a business owner or manager with a verified Business Profile on Google, you can add attributes to your Business Profile on Search and Maps. In addition to existing accessibility attributes, we recently added the assistive hearing loop attribute that indicates if somewhere, like a movie theater or library, has a sound system that is compatible with hearing aids. If attributes aren’t relevant to your business, you have even more ways you can make your business more accessible by using tools such as Live Transcribe, Live Caption, and TalkBack on Android.
A screenshot of Google Maps showing the accessibility attributes for a business.

Accessibility attributes displayed on Google Maps.

Create lists to curate accessible places on Google Maps

Another way to share local knowledge is by creating public lists on Google Maps. You can make lists of places like accessible museums in your city or the most wheelchair accessible restaurants in your neighborhood.  

Asongfac Lily Rospeen

https://www.google.com/maps/contrib/103416225837227540012/photos/@4.1565607,9.2887255,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m3!8m2!3m1!1e1

, a Local Guide from the Southwest region of Cameroon, curates lists like her Accessibility Buea list that includes wheelchair accessible banks, hotels, hospitals, bookshops, pharmacies, and supermarkets in her city.

Spread the word about accessibility 

Let others know about all the ways they can contribute to Maps to make it more accessible through attributes, reviews and more. Take inspiration from the Local Guides community. 

Emeka Ulor, a Local Guide from Nigeria, has rallied other people to add accessibility data to Google Maps and help make it more inclusive. He started the One Accessibility project, recruiting more than 20 volunteers and hosting more than 100 meet-ups to encourage people to add accessibility information to Google Maps. His reviews include information about wheelchair accessible parking, entrances, restrooms, lighting, Braille and seating to help inform people about the accessibility of their destination.

You can read more about these Local Guides and how others in the community are making Google Maps more accessible on Connect, our blog and forum for Local Guides.

Source: Google LatLong


Search, explore and shop the world’s information, powered by AI

AI advancements push the boundaries of what Google products can do. Nowhere is this clearer than at the core of our mission to make information more accessible and useful for everyone.

We've spent more than two decades developing not just a better understanding of information on the web, but a better understanding of the world. Because when we understand information, we can make it more helpful — whether you’re a remote student learning a complex new subject, a caregiver looking for trusted information on COVID vaccines or a parent searching for the best route home.

Deeper understanding with MUM

One of the hardest problems for search engines today is helping you with complex tasks — like planning what to do on a family outing. These often require multiple searches to get the information you need. In fact, we find that it takes people eight searches on average to complete complex tasks.

With a new technology called Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, we're able to better understand much more complex questions and needs, so in the future, it will require fewer searches to get things done. Like BERT, MUM is built on a Transformer architecture, but it’s 1,000 times more powerful and can multitask in order to unlock information in new ways. MUM not only understands language, but also generates it. It’s trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models. And MUM is multimodal, so it understands information across text and images and in the future, can expand to more modalities like video and audio.

Imagine a question like: “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently to prepare?” This would stump search engines today, but in the future, MUM could understand this complex task and generate a response, pointing to highly relevant results to dive deeper. We’ve already started internal pilots with MUM and are excited about its potential for improving Google products.

Information comes to life with Lens and AR

People come to Google to learn new things, and visuals can make all the difference. Google Lens lets you search what you see — from your camera, your photos or even your search bar. Today we’re seeing more than 3 billion searches with Lens every month, and an increasingly popular use case is learning. For example, many students might have schoolwork in a language they aren't very familiar with. That’s why we’re updating the Translate filter in Lens so it’s easy to copy, listen to or search translated text, helping students access education content from the web in over 100 languages.

Animated GIF showing Google Lens’s Translate filter applied to homework.

AR is also a powerful tool for visual learning. With the new AR athletes in Search, you can see signature moves from some of your favorite athletes in AR — like Simone Biles’s famous balance beam routine.

Animated GIF showing Simone Biles’s balance beam routine surfaced by the AR athletes in Search feature.

Evaluate information with About This Result 

Helpful information should be credible and reliable, and especially during moments like the pandemic or elections, people turn to Google for trustworthy information. 

Our ranking systems are designed to prioritize high-quality information, but we also help you evaluate the credibility of sources, right in Google Search. Our About This Result feature provides details about a website before you visit it, including its description, when it was first indexed and whether your connection to the site is secure. 

Animated GIF showing the About This Result features applied to the query "How to invest in ETFs."

This month, we’ll start rolling out About This Result to all English results worldwide, with more languages to come. Later this year, we’ll add even more detail, like how a site describes itself, what other sources are saying about it and related articles to check out. 

Exploring the real world with Maps

Google Maps transformed how people navigate, explore and get things done in the world — and we continue to push the boundaries of what a map can be with industry-first features like AR navigation in Live View at scale. We recently announced we’re on track to launch over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps by the end of year, and today, we’re introducing a few of the newest ones. Our new routing updates are designed to reduce the likelihood of hard-braking on your drive using machine learning and historical navigation information — which we believe could eliminate over 100 million hard-braking events in routes driven with Google Maps each year.

If you’re looking for things to do, our more tailored map will spotlight relevant places based on time of day and whether or not you’re traveling. Enhancements to Live View and detailed street maps will help you explore and get a deep understanding of an area as quickly as possible. And if you want to see how busy neighborhoods and parts of town are, you’ll be able to do this at a glance as soon as you open Maps.

More ways to shop with Google 

People are shopping across Google more than a billion times per day, and our AI-enhanced Shopping Graph — our deep understanding of products, sellers, brands, reviews, product information and inventory data — powers many features that help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Because shopping isn’t always a linear experience, we’re introducing new ways to explore and keep track of products. Now, when you take a screenshot, Google Photos will prompt you to search the photo with Lens, so you can immediately shop for that item if you want. And on Chrome, we’ll help you keep track of shopping carts you’ve begun to fill, so you can easily resume your virtual shopping trip. We're also working with retailers to surface loyalty benefits for customers earlier, to help inform their decisions.

Last year we made it free for merchants to sell their products on Google. Now, we’re introducing a new, simplified process that helps Shopify’s 1.7 million merchants make their products discoverable across Google in just a few clicks.  

Whether we’re understanding the world’s information, or helping you understand it too, we’re dedicated to making our products more useful every day. And with the power of AI, no matter how complex your task, we’ll be able to bring you the highest quality, most relevant results. 

Source: Google LatLong


A smoother ride and a more detailed Map thanks to AI

AI is a critical part of what makes Google Maps so helpful. With it, we’re able to map roads over 10 times faster than we could five years ago, and we can bring maps filled with useful information to virtually every corner of the world. Today, we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how AI makes two of the features we announced at I/O possible.

Teaching Maps to identify and forecast when people are hitting the brakes

Let’s start with our routing update that helps you avoid situations that cause you to slam on the brakes, such as confusing lane changes or freeway exits. We use AI and navigation information to identify hard-braking events — moments that cause drivers to decelerate sharply and are known indicators of car crash likelihood — and then suggest alternate routes when available. We believe these updates have the potential to eliminate over 100 million hard-braking events in routes driven with Google Maps each year. But how exactly do we find when and where these moments are likely to occur?


That’s where AI comes in. To do this, we train our machine learning models on two sets of data. The first set of information comes from phones using Google Maps. Mobile phone sensors can determine deceleration along a route, but this data is highly prone to false alarms because your phone can move independently of your car. This is what makes it hard for our systems to decipher you tossing your phone into the cupholder or accidentally dropping it on the floor from an actual hard-braking moment. To combat this, we also use information from routes driven with Google Maps when it's projected on a car’s display, like Android Auto. This represents a relatively small subset of data, but it’s highly accurate because Maps is now tethered to a stable spot — your car display. Training our models on both sets of data makes it possible to spot actual deceleration moments from fake ones, making detection across all trips more accurate. 


Understanding spots along a route that are likely to cause hard-braking is just one part of the equation. We’re also working to identify other contextual factors that lead to hard-braking events, like construction or visibility conditions. For example, if there’s a sudden increase in hard-braking events along a route during a certain time of day when people are likely to be driving toward the glare of the sun, our system could detect those events and offer alternate routes. These details inform future routing so we can suggest safer, smoother routes.

Using AI to go beyond driving

When you’re walking or biking or taking public transit, AI is also there helping you move along safely and easily. Last August we launched detailed street maps which show accurate road widths, along with details about where the sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian islands are in an area so people can better understand its layout and how to navigate it. Today, we announced that detailed street maps will expand to 50 more cities by the end of 2021. While this sounds straightforward, a lot is going on under the hood — especially with AI — to make this possible! 

A GIF that shows a before and after comparison of detailed streets maps built from satellite imagery

A before and after comparison of detailed streets maps built from satellite imagery

Imagine that you’re taking a stroll down a typical San Francisco street. As you approach the intersection, you’ll notice that the crosswalk uses a “zebra” pattern — vertical stripes that show you where to walk. But if you were in another city, say London, then parallel dotted lines would define the crosswalks. To account for these differences and accurately display them on the map, our systems need to know what crosswalks look like — not just in one city but across the entire world. It gets even trickier since urban design can change at the country, state, and even city level.

To expand globally and account for local differences, we needed to completely revamp our mapmaking process. Traditionally, we’ve approached mapmaking like baking a cake — one layer at a time. We trained machine learning models to identify and classify features one by one across our index of millions of Street View, satellite and aerial images — starting first with roads, then addresses, buildings and so on. 

But detailed street maps require significantly more granularity and precision than a normal map. To map these dense urban features correctly, we’ve updated our models to identify all objects in a scene at once. This requires a ton of AI smarts. The model has to understand not only what the objects are, but the relationships between them — like where exactly a street ends and a sidewalk begins. With these new full-scene models, we're able to detect and classify broad sets of features at a time without sacrificing accuracy, allowing us to map a single city faster than ever before. 


An image of Google Maps’ single-feature AI models

Single-feature AI model that classifies buildings.

An image of Google Maps’ full-scene AI models

Full-scene AI models that capture multiple categories of objects at once.


Once we have a model trained on a particular city, we can then expand it to other cities with similar urban designs. For example, the sidewalks, curbs, and traffic lights look similar in Atlanta and Ho Chi Minh City — despite being over 9,000 miles away. And the same model works in Madrid as it does in Dallas, something that may be hard to believe at first glance. With our new advanced machine learning techniques combined with our collection of high-definition imagery, we’re on track to bring a level of detail to the map at scale like never before.

AI will continue to play an important role as we build the most helpful map for people around the globe. For more behind-the-scenes looks at the technology that powers Google Maps, check out the rest of our Maps 101 blog series.

More from this Series

Maps 101

Google Maps helps you navigate, explore, and get things done every single day. In this series, we’ll take a look under the hood at how Google Maps uses technology to build helpful products—from using flocks of sheep and laser beams to gather high-definition imagery to predicting traffic jams that haven’t even happened yet.

View more from Maps 101

Source: Google LatLong


Get around and explore with 5 new Google Maps updates

From the very beginning, we built Google Maps to help you connect with the real world. In 2007, we introduced Street View, the first imagery platform to show you panoramic views of streets all over the world — from Tokyo to Tonga. A year later, we let you throw away your printed directions and get real-time navigation directly from your phone. And three years ago, we were the first to launch Live View and bring AR to navigation at scale. Thanks to our deep knowledge about the world and powerful AI advancements, we’ve spent the last 16 years bringing helpful information and experiences just like these to the map. Today at Google I/O, we’re announcing five new updates so you can more easily navigate, explore and get things done.  

Reduce hard-braking with routing updates

Imagine you’re driving to meet a friend. As you approach a busy intersection, the traffic slows suddenly and you have to slam on your brakes. According to research from experts at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, these hard-braking moments — incidents along a route that cause a driver to sharply decelerate — can be a leading indicator of car crash likelihood. Soon, Google Maps will reduce your chances of having hard-braking moments along your drive thanks to help from machine learning and navigation information.


Here’s how it works: Every time you get directions in Maps, we calculate multiple route options to your destination based on several factors, like how many lanes a road has and how direct a route is. With this update, we’ll take the fastest routes and identify which one is likely to reduce your chances of encountering a hard-braking moment. We’ll automatically recommend that route if the ETA is the same or the difference is minimal. We believe that these changes have the potential to eliminate 100 million hard-braking events in routes driven with Google Maps each year, so you can rely on Maps to get you from A to B quickly — but also more safely.

Walk this way with enhancements to Live View and detailed street maps

If you’re getting around on foot, we’ve got you covered with augmented reality in Live View. If you’re exploring a new neighborhood, you’ll be able to access Live View instantly — right from the map — and see helpful details about the shops and restaurants around you, like how busy they are, recent reviews and photos. We’ll also display helpful new street signs for complex intersections so you know exactly what road you’re on and which way to go. And if you’re traveling, Live View will tell you where you are in relation to places like your hotel — so you can always find your way back to home base.


Our detailed street maps feature, which launched last August, will soon be available in 50 more cities by the end of this year — including Berlin, São Paulo, Seattle, and Singapore. With the help of AI and our understanding of cityscapes around the globe, you can see where sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian islands are, along with the shape and width of a road to scale. This information can help pedestrians plan the most accommodating route, especially if they’re using a  wheelchair or stroller.

A GIF that shows what Google Maps looks like before and after detailed street maps

Detailed street maps are expanding to 50 more cities globally. 

Spot busy areas at a glance

Each day, more than 80 million people turn to live busyness information on Google for specific places to save time waiting in line and stay socially distanced during the pandemic. Now, this is expanding to show the relative busyness of an entire area, like whether a neighborhood or part of town is busier than usual. If it’s Saturday morning and you want to explore your city without crowds bogging you down, open up Maps to instantly see busy hotspots to avoid — like the streets near the local farmers’ market. On the flip side, if you want to check out popular parts of town, use area busyness to scope out lively neighborhoods at a glance to discover interesting things to do.
A GIF of Google Maps that shows that the area near the Spanish Steps in Rome is busier than usual

Use area busyness to quickly identify where crowded areas are in a city. 

A map tailored to you

Having information about the world is useful, but it can quickly become overwhelming if it’s not delivered at just the right time. To help you make sense of it all, we’re tailoring our map to highlight the most relevant places based on time of day and whether or not you’re traveling. If you live in New York and open up Maps at 8 a.m. on a weekday, we’ll prominently feature nearby coffee shops — instead of dinner spots — so you can start your day with a caffeine fix. And if you’re on a weekend getaway, it’ll be easier to spot local landmarks and tourist attractions right on the map. Want more options? Tap on any place to see similar places nearby.

A GIF that shows coffee spots in NYC in the morning, and dinner spots in the evening

See relevant places based on time of day and whether or not you’re traveling. 

No matter where you’re headed or what your plans are, Google Maps has the information you need along the way and the AI smarts to get you there. All of these features start rolling out globally on Android and iOS in the coming months, with detailed street maps coming to 50 new cities by the end of the year.

Source: Google LatLong


For National Parks Week, plan a trip with Google Maps

I’ve ticked a lot of National Parks off my travel bucket list this past year. As parks started to reopen, I planned outdoor trips instead of international ones. And at the end of last year, my boyfriend and I packed up our apartments to cruise around the Southwest in a borrowed camper van. Along the way, Google Maps helped us plan out our days. 

In Utah, we went to some of the most searched for National Parks — like Arches National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. We used Google Maps to scope out the most scenic driving routes and save campsites, viewpoints and trailheads. The best part? We could access everything even if we were in areas that had spotty service since we downloaded Maps to use when we were offline. This came in handy when we were trying to find a campground at Bryce Canyon — a total dead zone for our cells — and at Arches where we perfectly timed our day to catch sunset at Delicate Arch (the infamous arch on the state’s license plate). In New Mexico, we used popular times information on Google Maps to avoid the crowds — thanks to this intel it felt like we had White Sands National Park all to ourselves early on a weekday. 

Saturday marks the first day of National Parks Week, which I’ve deemed as a welcomed excuse to start planning your next outdoor adventure. (I’ve been eyeing Big Bend National Park). If you’re looking for some travel inspiration, Google Maps dug into data from the past year to help get you started! 

Man standing on sand dunes at White Sands National Park.


Popular times to hit the popular parks 🕒

  • The most popular time on the weekend to visit the top five National Parks is Saturday at 2:00 p.m. 

  • The most popular time on the weekdays is similar to the weekend, between 1 to 3 p.m.

  • On weekdays, the most popular time to visit the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone is Tuesday. 

All trends point to hiking trails   🥾

  • Google Maps searches for “hike” have increased 30% year over year

  • Meanwhile, Google Maps searches for “beach” have increased 27% year over year

Top 10 most searched National Parks on Google Maps ⛰️

  1. Grand Canyon National Park

  2. Yellowstone National Park

  3. Yosemite National Park

  4. Zion National Park

  5. Joshua Tree National Park

  6. Big Bend National Park

  7. Sequoia National Park

  8. Bryce Canyon National Park

  9. Glacier National Park

  10. Arches National Park

Top 10 most searched national forests on Google Maps 🌲

  1. Angeles National Forest

  2. Pisgah National Forest

  3. San Bernardino National Forest

  4. Tonto National Forest

  5. Coconino National Forest

  6. Sam Houston National Forest

  7. Sequoia National Forest

  8. Nantahala National Forest

  9. Cleveland National Forest

  10. Ozark National Forest

Top 10 most searched public beaches on Google Maps 🏖️

  1. Will Rogers State Beach

  2. Pacifica State Beach

  3. Marina Beach

  4. Seacliff State Beach

  5. Madeira Beach Access

  6. San Clemente State Beach

  7. Gray Whale Cove State Beach

  8. Manatee Public Beach

  9. Manasota Key Beach

  10. Blind Pass Beach

Source: Google LatLong


Maps tips for the adventurer, foodie and go-getter in you

Whether you’re hunting down the best hole-in-the wall restaurant on your block, planning a cross-country road trip that hits your favorite national parks or in the mood to tackle your to-do list, Google Maps is here to help you play and plan. 

Here are Google Maps tips — including features new and old — for the modern foodie, adventurer and go-getter in you. 

The modern foodie 🍔

Nothing makes you happier than discovering new flavors or sharing your latest recipes. Here’s how Google Maps can fuel the foodie in you. 

  • Keep tabs on the restaurant scene: Along with details like operating hours and COVID-19 safety precautions in Google Maps, you can also see every foodie’s favorite info: trending dishes. Check out a restaurant’s Business Profile on Maps to get the scoop on things like a restaurant’s most popular dishes and reviews. 
  • Make sure your entree arrives piping hot:Have a craving for your favorite ramen dish? Perfectly time your pickup or set the table before your meal arrives with live takeout and delivery status information. See expected wait times for your order, delivery fees, and live status right from Maps.
  • Whip up a home-cooked meal — sans grocery checkout lines:Need to grab some last-minute feta for that trending pasta dish? Check out a grocery store’s Business Profile to see things like pickup and delivery availability, fees and order minimums. (This is available for select Albertsons Cos. stores and Instacart partners on mobile Search — but expect to see it on Maps later this year!) 

The adventurer 🧗

Do you have the urge to take every fork in the road and leave no trail untraveled? On the road to adventure, Google Maps can help guide the way — no matter where you’re going. 

  •  Be prepared for all conditions:There’s nothing like a surprise rain storm to dampen adventure. Use the new weather and air quality layers to your advantage. See current weather conditions and temperatures, or check the air quality better plan your fresh-air outings. 

  • Don’t miss your train or plane with Indoor Live View:Airports and train stations can feel like a maze. Starting this summer in Zurich and Tokyo, use AR cues to see where the nearest platform, gates, elevator and escalators are, as well as baggage claim, restrooms, and ATMs. 

  • Pedal to your next adventure:Planning a hill climb or beach cruise ride? Check how flat or steep a route will be with biking directions. And if you don’t have a two-wheel companion, you can accessbike-sharing stations in more than 100 cities thanks to integrations with CitiBike, Lyft and Lime integrations.

  • Tabs are your new tick list:Use the tabs at the bottom of the app to keep track of your travel bucket list and find your next must-see destination! Check out the Updates tab to see trending, must-see spots from local experts and publishers — so you can find the best things to do no matter where you are. 

  • Remember where you’ve been: From the new trailhead you found to the hidden campground you want to revisit, we love to use Saved Places to view all these spots in one place. It’s perfect for reminiscing and sharing recommendations with friends.

The go-getter 🤸

You have two speeds: fast and faster. Nothing beats the high of getting it done and getting it done right. Between running your daily earrings and crossing things off your to-do list, Google Maps is here to help.

  • Knockout errands when lines are short:Want to avoid that grocery store line? Look at Google Maps’ busyness information to get a sense for how busy a place tends to be and plan accordingly. 

  • Zip through the mall:Need to drop off a return or pick up a last-minute gift? Hold up your phone and use AR to find a store so you can get in and out in a snap. Indoor Live View is now available at select malls in the U.S.

  • Tap and go with contactless payments:Efficiency is every go-getter’s goal. Pay for things like street parking or public transit right from Google Maps, without having to pull out your wallet or touch public services. For street parking, type in your meter number, hit pay and refill while you’re out and about. For public transportation, a pay option will pop up once you arrive at any public transit, then tap your phone to pay. 

  • Book away: Need to book anappointment, class, or reservation? Search for the business, check upcoming availability and book right from Google Maps. If you need to change something, manage upcoming reservations and bookings within the Saved tab of the Maps app.

Source: Google LatLong


Redefining what a map can be with new information and AI

Sixteen years ago, many of us held a printout of directions in one hand and the steering wheel in the other to get around— without information about the traffic along your route or details about when your favorite restaurant was open. Since then, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of what a map can do, propelled by the latest machine learning. This year, we’re on track to bring over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps so you can get the most accurate, up-to-date information about the world, exactly when you need it. Here's a snapshot of how we're using AI to make Maps work better for you with a number of updates coming this year.


Navigate indoors with Live View


We all know that awkward moment when you're walking in the opposite direction of where you want to go — Live View uses AR cues to avoid just that. Live View is powered by a technology called global localization, which uses AI to scan tens of billions of Street View images to understand your orientation. Thanks to new advancements that help us understand the precise altitude and placement of objects inside a building, we’re now able to bring Live View to some of the trickiest-to-navigate places indoors: airports, transit stations and malls. 


If you’re catching a plane or train, Live View can help you find the nearest elevator and escalators, your gate, platform, baggage claim, check-in counters, ticket office, restrooms, ATMs and more. Arrows and accompanying directions will point you the right way. And if you need to pick something up from the mall, use Live View to see what floor a store is on and how to get there so you can get in and out in a snap. Indoor Live View is live now on Android and iOS in a number of malls in Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. It starts rolling out in the coming months in select airports, malls, and transit stations in Tokyo and Zurich, with more cities on the way. 


  


Indoor live view 2

Find your way inside airports, train stations, and malls with Indoor Live View

Plan ahead with more information about weather and air quality 


With the new weather layer, you can quickly see current and forecasted temperature and weather conditions in an area — so you’ll never get caught in the rain without an umbrella. And the new air quality layer shows you how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is —  information that’s especially helpful if you have allergies or are in a smoggy or fire-prone area. Data from partners like The Weather Company, AirNow.gov and the Central Pollution Board power these layers that start rolling out on Android and iOS in the coming months. The weather layer will be available globally and the air quality layer will launch in Australia, India, and the U.S., with more countries to come. 


Head outside with the new weather and air quality layers

See helpful air quality and weather information with new layers in Google Maps

Find more eco-friendly options to get around


With insights from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, we’re building a new routing model that optimizes for lower fuel consumption based on factors like road incline and traffic congestion. This is all part of the commitment we made last September to help one billion people who use our products take action to reduce their environmental footprint. Soon, Google Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same ETA as the fastest route. In cases where the eco-friendly route could significantly increase your ETA, we’ll let you compare the relative CO2 impact between routes so you can choose. Always want the fastest route? That’s OK too — simply adjust your preferences in Settings. Eco-friendly routes launch in the U.S. on Android and iOS later this year, with a global expansion on the way.


Eco-friendly routes let you choose the route with the lowest carbon footprint

Moe eco-friendly routes let you choose the route with the lowest carbon footprint

From Amsterdam to Jakarta, cities around the world have established low emission zones — areas that restrict polluting vehicles like certain diesel cars or cars with specific emissions stickers —  to help keep the air clean. To support these efforts, we’re working on alerts to help drivers better understand when they’ll be navigating through one of these zones. You can quickly know if your vehicle is allowed in the area, choose an alternative mode of transportation, or take another route. Low emission zone alerts launch this June in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and the UK on Android and iOS, with more countries coming soon. 


Low emission zone alerts launch in

Quickly know if your vehicle is allowed in the area, choose an alternative mode of transportation, or take another route with low emission zone alerts

But we know that getting around sustainably goes beyond driving. So we’re making it easier to choose more sustainable options when you’re on the go. Soon you’ll get a comprehensive view of all routes and transportation modes available to your destination — you can compare how long it’ll take to get there by car, transit or bike without toggling between tabs. Using advanced machine learning models, Maps will automatically prioritize your preferred modes  — and even boost modes that are popular in your city. For example, if you bike a lot, we’ll automatically show you more biking routes. And if you live in a city like New York, London, Tokyo, or Buenos Aires where taking the subway is popular, we’ll rank that mode higher. This rolls out globally in the coming months on Android and iOS.

new directions experience

Easily compare different routes and modes of transportation with the new directions experience

Save time with curbside grocery pickup on Maps


Delivery and curbside pickup have grown in popularity during the pandemic — they’re convenient and minimize contact. To make this process easier, we’re bringing helpful shopping information to stores’ Business Profiles on Maps and Search, like delivery providers, pickup and delivery windows, fees, and order minimums. We’re rolling this out on mobile Search starting with Instacart and Albertsons Cos. stores in the U.S., with plans to expand to Maps and other partners.


pickup and delivery actions

Check out helpful information about grocery delivery providers, pickup and delivery windows, fees, and order minimums

This summer, we’re also teaming up with U.S. supermarket Fred Meyer, a division of The Kroger Co., on a pilot in select stores in Portland, Oregon to make grocery pickup easier. After you place an order for pickup on the store’s app, you can add it to Maps. We’ll send you a notification when it’s time to leave, and let you share your arrival time with the store. Your ETA is continuously updated, based on location and traffic. This helps the store prioritize your order so it’s ready as soon as you get there. Check in on the Google Maps app, and they’ll bring your order right out for a seamless, fast, no-contact pickup. 


pickup with google maps

Track your grocery order status, share your ETA, and let the store know you've arrived - all from Google Maps


All of these updates are possible thanks to AI advancements that have transformed Google Maps into a map that can reflect the millions of changes made around the world every day —  in the biggest cities and the smallest towns. Whether you’re getting around, exploring an area, or knocking out errands, let Google Maps help you find your way.

Source: Google LatLong