It is believed that there is a higher power that leads our way or controls our actions. However, when it comes to travelling, that higher power is Google Maps. Whether you are travelling within your own city trekking to Mount Kilimanjaro, Google Maps is the one we rely on. Google acquired the Maps application in 2005 and since then, it has inculcated many useful features in the app from time to time. The latest feature that would be embedded in Google Maps is Lightning Layer.
What is Lightning Layer in Google Maps ?
One of the popular Android development communities, XDA Developers, found while tearing down the Google Maps beta version 10.31.0 APK, that there seems to be a feature that is hidden from all users. This feature was embedded in Google Maps which can highlight streets that have adequate lightning with a yellow colour indication. This would help night-time commuters to identify roads which are well-lit during late-night travels. The feature description reads “Yellow lines show streets with good lighting” and this would help to identify roads with no or poor lightning.
It is rumoured that this feature would first roll out to the Google Maps users in India. This is not the first time that Google Maps have introduced customized features for its Indian users. Earlier this year, Google provides updates to its Maps application which introduced the Stay Safer feature in India. This feature was designed to buzz a notification to the passenger if the cab driver deviated from the designated route over 0.5 KM than the route assigned. In addition to this alert, this new update also allowed the users to share their live location with anyone in their phonebook.
Google Maps has also been playing its role in energy conservation by developing features for pedestrians like the Augmented Reality Walking Directions which provided spoken walking directions for visually impaired people.
How Does Google Maps Plan To Achieve The Lightning Layer?
That question is rather difficult to answer as smart street lights have not covered even 5% of the world’s street. The only option which remains is the user submitted data which is collected for traffic updates. There is no official word from Google as to how exactly they plan to do this but the fact that there is a new layer present in updated Google Maps version 10.31.0 confirms that it would indicate brightly lit streets by highlighting them in yellow and this feature would soon be available.
For those who think it would not be possible, must know that Google Maps have been introducing new features from time to time like the Translate Button inculcated into Google Maps which can translate the names and addresses to a preferred language which is a very useful feature for tourists. The inspiration for this Lightning Layer feature may have stroked off from one of the comments by a twitter user which quoted ‘I wish Google Maps had “I’m walking home by myself at night” mode that would show you a way with well-lit paths and open spaces. It always seems to take you on narrow, dark pathways in cities,’. This user received a remarkable number of 245,000 likes on his post.
Also Read: Waze Vs Google Maps! War of the Navigators
Your Thoughts on Google Maps: Lightning Layer
Maps by Google is undoubtedly the most popular navigation application and has millions of users across the globe. It can be used to find familiar routes with less traffic and does guide through unfamiliar routes through desolated areas. However, this new feature would benefit people who prefer to walk home at night being safe and secure. I am pleased with Google Maps and all its features, however, a question which strikes my mind and causes unrest is Does Google track every user and stores their location data on its server?
Do let me know your thoughts on the same in the comments section below