Google is improving the tools to see how busy an area is, navigating shopping malls and airports, and expanding support for in-store pickups from more locations.
Google Maps introduces several new features for iOS and Android that promise to make it even more useful over the holiday season. The holidays can be a hectic time that often requires a lot of planning to make sure everyone is having the happiest time. While important decisions need to be made, such as choosing gifts and what meals to prepare, there are usually also considerations related to festive activities like attending lighting ceremonies or visiting family.
Although Google Maps is basically a map service, Google has added many additional features over the years. From nearby restaurants and city guides to public transit information and the ability to track forest fires, Google has found plenty of ways to expand the functionality of the app. In fact, it now makes as much sense to open Google Maps to check a city’s air quality or view the menu of a local coffee shop as it does to plan a road trip or find a gas station.
With the holidays in mind, Google announced several new tools designed to make things a little easier during the season. Area business promises to show users when a neighborhood or a regional area is particularly busy. Google Notes Area Busyness can also be used to identify specific areas of interest, such as a festive market. The feature builds on an earlier feature that can help commuters understand how crowded their bus or train journey might be, and likely peak hours for a shop or restaurant.
Global users can now navigate shopping malls and more
Google Maps is rolling out its directory function for users around the world and promising to make indoor navigation a little easier. If available, the directory contains information on shopping centers, airports and other transport hubs. Users can find details like store categories, opening times, comfort lounges, vehicle rentals and more. It should be noted that in some locations, users can also use Live View to find their way around.
The company is also expanding its pickup functionality for those who want to buy and pick up items from a brick and mortar location. Google Maps introduced a roadside pick-up service earlier this year, but it now offers additional features and more partners. Customers can shop in over 2,000 stores and check their order status via. follow Google Maps. The app can also estimate a user’s arrival time and allow them to share these details with the store.
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