Google Maps to drivers: Turn right at the Burger King

Picture this. You’re driving down the street and Google Maps tells you to turn right at the Burger King, instead of telling you to turn right on [insert street name you’ve never heard of]. Well, Google is starting to do this.

I noticed this while I was in a Lyft in Washington, D.C., but I failed to remember it until TC’s sister publication, Engadget, reported it the other day. Anyway, the idea is that Google Maps is highlighting some landmarks and other points of interest (fast food restaurants) to help with guidance.

TechCrunch/MRD

Other people have noticed, too.

Highlighting landmarks seems to be one method of Google’s experimentation with improving navigation and guidance for people.

Google Maps for iOS Gains Restaurant Wait Times, Improved Transit Directions and More

Google Maps for iOS was today updated to version 4.47, introducing new and improved features.

When searching for a restaurant using Google Maps, you can now see wait times at more than a million restaurants around the world that will let you know just how long you can expect to wait before being seated.



Google says the update also introduces the ability to sort and search through reviews of a restaurant, store, or other business, so you can find specific information that you’re looking for, and it includes more robust transit directions.

The new transit directions feature in Google Maps is designed to let you know which transit entrance you need to go to, and it is available in New York, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, Los Angeles, Delhi, Moscow, Singapore, Madrid, Barcelona, Kiev, and Budapest.

Thanks for using Google Maps! This release brings bug fixes and awesome new features to help you discover new places and navigate to them:

– See average wait times at over a million restaurants worldwide.

– Search and sort through reviews of a place.

– Get transit directions that tell you exactly which entrance you need to go into. This feature is available now in New York, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, Los Angeles, Delhi, Moscow, Singapore, Madrid, Barcelona, Kiev, and Budapest, with more on the way!

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Google adds a wheelchair-accessible option for transit maps

Google Maps has a pretty solid set of data for taking transit from here to there, but anyone with a physical disability knows it isn’t quite that simple. Some stations may be wheelchair-unfriendly, have out-of-service elevators, that kind of thing. A new update to the service adds an option for you to specify a wheelchair-accessible route — though that’s just a start on what’s really needed.

Transit riders in London, New York, Tokyo, Mexico City, Boston and Sydney will now have the option to select “wheelchair accessible” in their route options in the same way they might opt to have fewer transfers or minimal walking. More are on the way.

No doubt this will make life easier for disabled folks, people with strollers or even anyone lugging around something heavy.

But maps, even Google’s extremely detailed ones, are still extremely short on information critical to anyone with a physical disability. Walking routes that take into account sidewalk condition and grade, curb cuts, pedestrian crossing zones or buttons, wheelchair-accessible entrances to buildings and much more could be better integrated into the world’s most popular mapping platform.

We know it can be done because a handful of students did it on their own for a summer project. AccessMap uses a combination of manually generated and publicly available data to label sidewalks as safe or risky for people who have trouble getting around. It’s limited to Seattle at present (can’t expect undergrads to map the country) but the concept is more than sound.

Here’s hoping Google dedicates a bit more of its considerable resources to improving this aspect of the product. Millions will thank them.

Google is using Maps to turn every video game into an earth-sized epic

Video games are about to look a lot more like the real world. If you’ve enjoyed the thrill of driving through GTAV and spying out Los Angeles landmarks, then that’s a sentiment you’re probably going to start feeling a lot more often while you play video games. Google is making its Maps API play nice with […]

Who’s a very good Street View camera? You are!

 For its latest addition to Street View, Google has employed a trio of very good (and extremely fuzzy) boys — Ako, Asuka and Puuko. In order to capture the snowy streets of Ōdate City, Japan, the company strapped 360 cameras to the backs of the three Akita dogs, which hail from the country’s cold and mountainous regions. The company can’t seem to decide between Dog View or… Read More

Mario Comes to Google Maps in Celebration of Mario Day

Mario Day, which celebrates Nintendo’s iconic plumber, takes place on Saturday, March 10. To celebrate Mario Day, Nintendo has teamed up with Google to bring Mario to Google Maps.

Starting today, “Mario Time” is available in Google Maps for Android and iOS devices. To enter Mario Time, tap on the yellow “?” icon that’s available in the bottom right of the Google Maps app after updating the app to the latest version.



With Mario Time enabled, your Google Maps navigation arrow will turn into Mario driving a Mario Kart vehicle. Google says Mario will be a “constant companion” wherever you’re driving this coming week. The new Mario icon will be visible in Google Maps on every route you take while using the app.

The new Google Maps update with Mario Time is rolling out to iOS and Android users today, and Mario will be available for the next seven days. Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Nintendo is also celebrating Mario Day with a 50 percent discount on Super Mario Run, which means unlocking the game via in-app purchase will cost you $4.99 instead of $9.99 through March 25. The new lower pricing for the in-app purchase will be available starting on March 10.



Super Mario Run can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Google Maps Adds 11 Disney Parks to Street View

Google Maps’ Street View technology has been updated today to include virtual tours of 11 Disney parks for parents and children to explore in advance of a coming trip, or to rekindle memories of previous visits.


We’re all about new fantastic points of view. Today Street View is going the distance, from California to Florida, to make Disney part of your world. Be our guest at 11 Disney Parks, and with Street View, anything your heart desires will come to you—castles, rides, attractions to infinity and beyond.

The Street View coverage takes in castles, rides and attractions around the various Parks, such as Florida’s Magic Kingdom Park and the Avatar-themed world of Pandora in Animal Kingdom. The feature currently only includes parks in the United States, but that may change in future, given Google’s recent efforts to expand its coverage of touristic landmarks across Europe and Asia through the service.

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Google Maps for iOS Gains Quick-Access Traffic, Transit, and Local Info Tabs

Google has updated its iOS Maps app with three new quick-access options that Android users have had access to for over a year now. The new tabs sit across the bottom of the home screen and are called Explore, Driving, and Transit.

Swiping up on the shortcuts reveals further details. For example, in Explore users can find a description of the local area, dining choices, and options to search for gas stations, ATMs, convenience stores, drug stores, and other amenities.

The driving tab provides a traffic summary for the area, including information on possible delays that might add time onto a commute. This tab will also include current ETAs for the user’s home and work addresses if they are saved in the app’s settings. Finally, the transit tab offers estimated bus and train schedules at stations in the vicinity.

Google Maps can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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