It appears Google is adding a new feature to its Google Maps mobile app, and it is one that will be very useful to motorcyclists. However, the feature will be rolled out gradually to different regions as part of a new update, so it would take some time until it reaches everyone.
One Google Maps user recently shared on the Reddit thread for all things Android what he discovered upon checking out the updated Maps app. Apparently, the user stumbled upon a dedicated motorcycle mode in the app. The feature, according to him, plots routes through narrow streets so he can travel easily and reach his destination faster than the usual route.
The user shared a screenshot on how this motorcycle navigation mode looks like. Based on the image, the feature will not only indicate the time it would take for the user to reach his or her destination using a specific route, it would also provide tips on which is the best route to take at a specific time.
According to Phone Arena, the dedicated motorcycle navigation mode was really built with motorcyclists in mind. This is evident when the app offers riders routes that are typically unavailable to drivers of cars. Based on the data encoded by other riders, the feature will present ETAs (estimated times of arrival) to the user.
So how does one access the new Google Maps feature? The option is conveniently located among the other transportation modes in the app. Users can have immediate access to this by just clicking on the motorcycle icon below the search bar. For now though, the feature is only available in India. Hence, users in the U.S. should wait for its official rollout before they conclude on whether the new feature is useful for them or not.
Nevertheless, online responses to the new feature are mostly positive. “I live in Milan and a lot of streets are closed to cars, but not to scooters or public transportation, making the motorcycle route several minutes shorter if you know how, but Google would only suggest car routes. I’ve been waiting for this for ages,” wrote a Reddit user with the handle Flea0.
“Indonesia is a huge scooter riding country and this will be a key feature there. The main ride sharing company in Jakarta … almost exclusively uses scooters for everything from getting a ride to delivering a masseuse to your door,” user dasfreak stated.
The discovery that Google is rolling out a dedicated motorcycle navigation mode to Google Maps comes a week after Waze updated its app to introduce a slew of new features that also includes a motorcycle navigation mode. Like the Google Maps’ version of the feature, Waze’s navigation mode offers recommendations for the best routes to take based on the data pulled in from fellow motorcyclists.
Alongside the motorcycle navigation mode, Waze included support for hands-free “OK Waze” voice commands. Unfortunately, the feature was only made available to users in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada. With voice command support, users can now ask the app to do things like locate the nearest gas station without the need of taking one’s hands off the wheel, as pointed out by The Verge.