January 23, 2019

Google Maps to help drivers stay within speed limits

By Emmanuel Elebeke

Two years after test-running the speed limits feature in San Francisco and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, search engine company, Google, said it has rolled out the feature into Google Maps for other countries.

The speed limit feature will show in the lower left side of the app, the maximum speed  in any area.  Google Maps will also display the locations of speed traps through small camera icons, and the app will play an audio warning to alert drivers when approaching a speed trap.

The feature is being added for the United States, United Kingdom, and Denmark. Meanwhile, speed camera locations are appearing for the U.S., U.K., Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Russia.

Users have been allowed to report the location of speed trap cameras in Google Maps since late last year, through the report button that shows up with a “+” sign at the bottom left of the app’s main screen. The app is now making the data visible to users in several countries.

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It appears that the new features are coming to Google Maps through server-side changes. The app itself does not need an update in order for users to start seeing the speed limits and speed trap locations.

Google maps users have been requesting the features for a while, especially as crowd sourcing navigating app Waze, provided such information.

The features are already available on Waze when Google acquired it for about $1billion in 2013.

It makes sense for Google to keep the two services different, as Google maps caters more to users exploring areas on foot, while Waze is designed for  drivers. However, that does not mean  Google Maps will not add what is now considered essential features for drivers. It took a while, over five years, but the Waze features are now being added to Google Maps.

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There has been a wave of updates for Google Maps recently, including new features dedicated to making commutes easier. Google Maps also recently started informing users of any special offers and upcoming events on places that they follow in the app.