New Google Maps feature wants to educate you about ride sharing
Google Maps is preparing to introduce a new update to help users manage the most tedious journeys, i.e. those stretches, often not so short, for which the app simply suggests walking to get to your destination.
Maps is undoubtedly the chosen travel companion of many people, whether in the city to reach the office, the gym, friends or in more exotic destinations. Personally, I often rely on Maps even after almost five years in Berlin, when I have to reach places I have not been to before. I first check Maps and then, if I have to rely on public transport, the BVG app (Berlin’s transport company) to make sure that my trip is not interrupted by some maintenance work on the line (if you live in Berlin, you know very well what I mean).
I am therefore pleased to hear that in the coming weeks, a new feature will be introduced on both Android and iOS, in 30 countries around the world. The app will integrate bike routes and ride-sharing services for the first and last mile, i.e. the distance between the point you reach by public transport and the final destination in the app. It’s for those times when have to go to a friend’s house or maybe to the office, which is far from the bus or metro stop, and you may have to walk for 20 or 30 minutes.
If until now the only solution offered by Google Maps was to walk (which in addition to taking longer is not always a solution for users with walking problems, for those who are simply tired after a long day or when the weather conditions are not favorable), soon alternatives such as the ability to take a bike or rely on sharing a Uber or another platform will be shown. The choice between sharing services will vary from country to country depending on the options available on the territory.
Once you have implemented this feature, you can use it by simply entering the destination you want to reach on Maps and take a look at the details of the route. In addition to the minutes of walking alternatives such as the routes to follow by bike and the possibility of relying on an Uber or another sharing service will be shown. The screen will provide information about costs, waiting times, travel and traffic conditions.
Perhaps for some this novelty might seem futile, but I think it actually helps to better organize travel in the city as well as give a boost to the spread of sharing schemes. It’s a concept that is increasingly strong in urban contexts and that, also considering the investments of car manufacturers and other companies in the sector, will be increasingly present in the future.
With this feature, Google not only helps us better manage the most boring trips, but educates us about ride-sharing, shows us alternative options that we have not all yet discovered on our own. And there’s nothing wrong with that.