Google has unveiled some of the new features in the pipeline for its maps software.

The update delivers more than 100 improvements, many of which are powered by AI and machine learning.

In a blog post titled "Redefining what a map can be with new information and AI" by Dane Glasgow, the VP of Product, Google Maps, said: "Sixteen years ago, many of us held a printout of directions in one hand and the steering wheel in the other to get around - without information about the traffic along your route or details about when your favourite restaurant was open.

"Since then, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of what a map can do, propelled by the latest machine learning.

"This year, we’re on track to bring over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps so you can get the most accurate, up-to-date information about the world, exactly when you need it."

Features coming to Google Maps include indoor live view, more eco-friendly route-planning and pollution maps.

Here are the biggest changes coming to Google Maps this year.

Indoor Live View 

Live View lets you use AR to see your directions in the context of the real world.

The update will bring Live View to indoor locations.

News Shopper: The update to Live View will let people navigate indoorsThe update to Live View will let people navigate indoors

Integrated weather and air quality

Your phone already has a weather app preinstalled, but now Google is rolling those features into Google Maps. 

With the Weather layer, you’ll be able to see current and forecasted weather in an area. 

Another new layer, meanwhile, will tell you what the quality of the local air is like.

Both layers will rely on data from a number of third parties, including The Weather Company,, and the Central Pollution Board.

News Shopper: Meeting to discuss onboarding email commsMeeting to discuss onboarding email comms

The weather layer will be available worldwide, though the air quality layer will initially be restricted to Australia, India, and the US. 

Weather and air pollution will be available on Android and iOS, with a rollout set to occur in “the coming months.”

Eco-friendly driving options

Google Maps will now help you make your trips as green as possible. 

Part of that involves a new routing model that optimizes your journey for fuel consumption. 

Once this new feature arrives, Google Maps will automatically default to routes that have the lowest carbon footprint.

The newly optimized routes will have roughly the same ETA as the fastest route available. 

News Shopper: More eco-friendly routes let you choose the route with the lowest carbon footprintMore eco-friendly routes let you choose the route with the lowest carbon footprint

The new route optimization feature will launch on Android and iOS in the US later this year, with a global rollout to follow.

In another update for drivers, Google Maps will also warn you if you're heading into a low emission zone.

That way, you can avoid areas where your car isn’t allowed.

That arrives in June in Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain, and the UK. 

A new alternative transit interface

To simplify the journey-planning process, Google is launching a new directions interface that makes it easier to switch between different routes and transit options.

Google Maps will employ machine learning to remember how you prefer to get around, prioritizing the options you’re more likely to use.

Plus, switching between different ways of getting around won’t involve toggling different tabs on a screen, as is currently the case.


Google Maps also takes locational context into account, and will push transit systems that are popular wherever you are.

So, if you’re in a city like New York or London, you’ll see underground Subway routes ranking higher on your list of ways to get around.

This feature will roll out in the “coming months” on Android and iOS devices.

Curbside grocery pickup support

An update to Google Maps and Search will add relevant information to Business Profiles, so you can see which businesses offer pickup from the curb plus details about delivery windows, minimum orders, and what other fees you may need to pay.

News Shopper: Track your grocery order status, share your ETA, and let the store know you've arrived Track your grocery order status, share your ETA, and let the store know you've arrived

This extra information will first come to Instacart and Albertsons Cos profiles in US search results, but will be expanding to Maps and other businesses in the near future.

Google Maps has also teamed with supermarket Fred Meyer, and will be running a pilot scheme in Portland, Oregon, to make grocery pickup even easier. 

Once you place an order for pickup, you’ll be able to add that location to Maps; the app will then tell you when it’s time to leave, and will inform the store of your ETA, so that your order is ready as soon as you arrive.