Google Maps celebrates its 15th birthday on February 8, 2020. Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that in the future, Google Maps will be an “important position” in the company’s AI First strategy. To coincide with the anniversary, Google Maps has also made a global update.
Jen Fitzpatrick, Senior Vice President, Google Maps, wrote in a blog post:
With the development of technology, our task has been extended from helping users navigate to help ingering to helping them find the best places to go. We’re also thinking about how we can use machine learning to drive new progress.
Five new labels
In the early days, maps were primarily a numerical representation of an atlas. Today, as GPS, smartphones, Street View technology, and user-generated data continue to evolve, Google Maps is introducing more and more features to respond to the changing needs of its users , as demonstrated by this map redesign.
Above, the pages of five new tags in Google Maps
First, five tabs have been added to the tab page for Google Maps: Explore, Commute, Save Location, Contribution, and Update (latest activity news about nearby locations). For example, when choosing a route, the software displays additional information, including accessibility, safety conditions, and the condition of the vehicle, and in some areas, female-only compartment information will be displayed. Most of these new features are evaluated based on information provided by Google Maps users.
Live View Update
The Live View mode has also been updated. In 2018, Google presented this AR-based model in Google Maps for the first time at the Software Developers Conference, which will be officially launched in 2019. After the update, Live View can be used directly in the map without starting navigation. The AR mode can be activated with a single tap.
Described, the implementation of this feature may seem simple, but augmented reality requires a lot of background data to function properly. Specifically, Live View builds on existing Street View data collected by cars loaded with sensors and cameras, or taken from their cameras when users use AR features.
If the GPS signal is low enough to determine the exact location of the user, Live View uses machine learning to compare scenes captured by the user’s camera and then compares them with billions of Street View images and other street view images contributed by the user.
Sundar Pichai says:
Overall, I think algorithms should make people’s lifestyles more intuitive, and their applications in AR and maps are the best example of that.
ML-based building drawing
In addition to some of these features, Google is also relying on machine learning programs to interpret complex infrastructure around the world.
Through test series in India and Nigeria over the past few years, map engineers began using ML models to map roads and to determine the outline of buildings based on satellite imagery.
In response, Sundar Pichai says Google has painted the same number of architectural images in the past decade as the past decade combined. He added that the deployment of artificial intelligence is no longer limited to street names and architectural appearances, but also intelligently recommends locations such as restaurants. When users find their destination, AI also predicts unexpected conditions, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, heavy rain, or floods. These predictive models could land Google Maps within three to five years.
Above, the updated Google Maps account page
In addition to spending billions of dollars on map data, Google relies on user contributions to organize information – drawing India’s spider-like mountain trails is one thing, but knowing the names of each road is another.
Although Users of Google Maps currently offer 20 million bits of data per day, that’s not enough; In this Contribution tab, users can proactively add pictures and street names, describe/share their travel lives, rate restaurants, and more.
Working with brands
Over the past few years, Google Maps has existed primarily as a stand-alone app, especially on mobile phones. In the future, however, information from Google Maps will be more “useful.”
Sundar Pichai says he believes Google Maps’ APIs( communication protocols that allow different applications to connect to each other) will be used by more applications that may not be related to pure lying, but they require navigation to some extent. For example, a retail store or an entire mall can provide a unique shopping experience, with the brand providing information to Google Maps and Google providing navigation technology.