BERLIN: Have you used Google Maps to find a good cycling route before? It probably didn’t always end up being the quick ride you imagined.
In a trio of new updates, Google has now improved its navigation app for cyclists, which will now display the elevation along the chosen route and alert you to high gradients, heavy car traffic and even stairs.
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Cycling directions on Google Maps are now also more detailed, showing you the type of road you will be biking on and whether it has a marked bike lane, the company wrote in a blog entry.
In a second update, Google has added "photorealistic aerial views of nearly 100 of the world’s most popular landmarks" – from the Empire State Building in New York to Big Ben in London – "so you can decide whether or not you want to add it to your trip itinerary."
Practical, if you don’t like being surprised.
This feature which Google calls "immersive view" combines artificial intelligence with high-resolution Street View, satellite and aerial images to create an all-round view, reminiscent of a drone flight.
The final new update might be the most controversial, at least in the eyes of those who don’t like their friends to spy on them.
Google Maps users can now choose to get notifications when someone who has activated location sharing with them arrives at or departs from certain locations.
This might be practical when a friend or family member forget to text that they have made it back home safely, for example.
According to Google, this feature only works if you’ve already enabled location sharing with a friend. You will also receive regular push notifications and emails reminding you that another person currently has access to your location, allowing you to opt out. – dpa