Dynamically Typed

New AI-powered features in Google Maps

Google Maps is getting some new features powered by “new information and AI.” Maps VP of Product Dane Glasgow wrote about them in a post for The Keyword; I’ll highlight the two features where AI seems most central. (1) Live View, a mobile feature that shows augmented reality navigation overlays by mapping the camera feed to the Street View images, is getting an Indoor mode that “can help you find the nearest elevator and escalators, your gate, platform, baggage claim, check-in counters, ticket office, restrooms, ATMs and more.” I think that’s also the most AI-powered bit here: a few classical computer vision algorithms can already do image-comparison-based localization, but the object recognition was probably done using machine learning. (2) Instead of always showing directions for the last mode you used, Maps “will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same ETA as the fastest route” — the AI bit here is that it learns to rank the options by what you’re likely to take yourself and by what’s popular in the city you’re in: cycling in Amsterdam or the metro in New York.