Google Maps
Google Maps users in India will soon be avle to access AI-powered features. Pexels

With 2024 right around the corner, Google has introduced a slew of exciting updates to Google Maps in India in a bid to improve the app's overall user experience and pave the way for future improvements.

The recently rolled-out comprehensive update comprises enhanced fuel-efficient routing, live view walking navigation, lens in maps and address descriptors.

This is the latest addition to a slew of previously announced AI-powered features. After unveiling a new Assistant with Bard in October, the search giant is reportedly on the verge of launching an AI chatbot with Google Maps as well.

In the meantime, let's check out the newly announced features.

Address Descriptors

This feature will come in handy for finding locations based on landmarks. "We're introducing a new India-first innovation, Address Descriptors on Google Maps, to help our users understand addresses better, in a way they are used to in real life," Google Maps VP & GM Miriam Daniel noted in a blog post.

When a user drops a pin while sharing a location, Google Maps will use a combination of machine learning signals to automatically find up to 5 of the most relevant landmarks and area names around the pinned address. This feature is slated to arrive in India in 2024.

Google teams up with ONDC, Namma Yatri

In the blog post, Google announced its partnerships with Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC) and Namma Yatri as part of its attempt to offer a more digitised public transport experience to all users.

It is worth noting that Namma Yatri is a mobility app on the ONDC network that brings metro schedules and bookings to users. The initiative is expected to launch by mid-2024, starting with the Kochi Metro on Google Maps.

Google says it will follow with other metros as they join the ONDC network. "With this collaboration, we aim to not only enhance user convenience but also provide a platform for the growth of mobility startups nationwide," said T Koshy, MD and CEO at ONDC.

Where Is My Train

Google has announced the extension of the Where Is My Train app. While it will currently include Mumbai and Kolkata Local Trains, Google will add more cities in the future.

Every month, over a whopping 80 million people use the app to navigate intercity train journeys. Where Is My Train app enables people to access dynamic information such as platform numbers, delays and schedule changes.

Lens in Maps

The American tech behemoth has launched Lens in Maps in the Indian market. The feature will allow users to easily understand their surroundings.

You will be able to see nearby restaurants and cafes simply by pointing your camera down the street.

The screen will also display other information such as opening hours, ratings, reviews and photos. Starting with Android, Lens in Maps will be made available in fifteen cities across India by January 2024.

Live View Walking

Much to the delight of those who prefer walking, Google is gearing up to bring Live View walking navigation to India. The feature will simplify navigation by displaying arrows, directions, and distance markers on the Maps screen.

Aside from this, your phone will vibrate when you've reached your destination or when it's time to make a turn.

The Lens in Maps and Live View walking navigation combines Street View imagery along with advanced AI and AR technologies. Live View Walking will be available on Android devices in over 3,000 cities and towns across India.

Fuel-efficient routing feature

With people becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint, Google has launched its fuel-efficient routing feature in India. According to Google, the feature has played a key role in preventing more than 2.4 million metric tons of CO2e emissions globally from October 2021 through September 2023.

Users across India will be able to access this feature for four-wheelers and two-wheelers by January next year.