Google Maps to Debut Slow Navigation Option!

The popular navigation app is innovating to make a positive impact all over the world.


Google Maps app

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With 1 billion monthly users, Google Maps has become an everyday staple for people around the globe. The smartphone app, which provides navigation guidance, shows users a number of routes to get from Point A to Point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. Mapping 27.9 million miles of road, users can choose to avoid routes with tolls or highways. But now, the internet titan is adding a new feature to their app that’s healthier for the planet.

Google announced in a statement that the company will soon show users routes with the smallest possible carbon footprint. Leveraging data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, Google is “building a new routing model that optimizes for lower fuel consumption based on factors like road incline and traffic congestion.”

When users search for driving directions, the app will automatically display the route with the lowest environmental impact, if it will take approximately the same amount of time as the fastest, shortest route. In cases where the greenest route takes significantly longer, the app will allow users to choose which route they prefer. 

It’s critical to note that for many routes, there’s no difference between the most Earth-friendly and the most efficient route. “What we are seeing is that for around half of [the] routes, we are able to find an option more eco-friendly with minimal or no time-cost tradeoff,” Russell Dicker, a director of product at Google, told Reuters

Users who’d like to opt-out and only see the fastest route will have the option to do so, by simply changing the app’s default settings. But because 95 percent of app users never change the app’s default settings, the green route is set to become the standard. This is bound to have a huge impact on carbon emissions all over the world.

The update comes on the heels of previous eco-friendly updates to the Maps app. In 2010, the company integrated biking routes within the app, and public transportation routes were added as an option in 2014.

The internet company has a longstanding commitment to implementing green policies. In 2017, Google fully matched 100% of its energy consumption with renewable energy purchases, effectively turning the company into a carbon-neutral venture. By 2030, Google expects to be the first major company to operate using a completely carbon-free model.

As the primary resource for one billion commuters all over the world, Google Apps has a huge effect on traffic patterns in cities from Prague to Bangkok. By embracing the slower, more Earth-friendly route, Google is set to change the way that people move, lessening the impact of a significant part of global carbon emissions. This new in-app option is much more than a product update - it’s a step towards a healthier planet.

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