A few months back, some Google Maps users could observe traffic lights on the app’s Android version. At that time, Google was testing this feature as nothing more related to this was reported anywhere.
Now, news has it that Google is launching this feature on a wide scale, if not completely for all users. Google has not stated as to when this feature would be available universally. This feature was initially spotted by Droid-Life, a post which Google, too, confirmed the same. Reportedly, Android users can spot icons resembling traffic lights on the Google Maps application. The traffic lights are present only in the form of icons as these lights can’t change colors in real-time.
There is no manual setting required to activate this functionality. Also, there is no requirement to activate the traffic layers, as was the initial assumption. The main idea behind introducing this kind of feature is to avoid potential accidents, more so for those drivers who habitually concentrate on their phone screens rather than on the roads while driving.
There does not seem to be much of a difference between the trial version rollout and the present wide-scale rollout version. The icons look pretty much the same, and they adjust according to the map’s size. The traffic lights can be seen when the user is browsing or navigating through the map. During navigation, these lights are very small and are not that simple to be located on the map. Moreover, the assumption is such that drivers tend to look at the road while driving. Other than these signal-like icons, there are no audio-based instructions that are given when driving.
Looking at the signal icons, one can get an idea of when there would be heavy traffic and which roads are flooded with vehicles.
This functionality has been rolled out only in the United States in places like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Japan already has this functionality working. So far, this feature is yet to arrive in countries like France and Canada. It looks like Google would roll out this functionality in the other countries too in the upcoming days.
Reportedly, this feature already exists in Apple Maps since the previous year. The functionality rolled out in iOS 13. Moreover, Siri can help these traffic lights offer guidance to the driver with the correct directions. Using these traffic lights as a tool, Siri can provide instructions like “turn right at the next traffic light.” It makes it sound more realistic and helps drivers with their navigation at the time of driving.
Sometime very recently, Google had notified that it is planning to launch a feature where users would be highlighted about the Covid-19 travel restrictions via Google Maps. Google intends to provide information to commuters about crowds in public transports, thereby helping them plan out their travel efficiently. So far, Google has not stated when this feature would arrive.