MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google Maps is making it easier to navigate around town by adding landmarks to its repertoire of step-by-step directions. A limited number of users are currently receiving directions like “Turn right after Burger King,” instead of “Turn right on Sycamore Street”—and it’s taking many by surprise.
The move is multi-faceted. For one, it will make driving easier: A giant sign is much simpler to see over a small street sign. It’s also a way to make the experience more human, employing “real person clues” like buildings and signs when asking for directions. Some say it will even help us take note of our surroundings again.
It’s still to be determined if the feature will become a permanent addition. It isn’t advertised and isn’t listed in the most recent update, so users are taking to social media to share their excitement. Others, however, are questioning the potential partnerships with these well-known and well-financed restaurants. There are no reports as to if there’s more to it than speculation.
But in the future, Google Maps could start using more than just fast-food restaurants. Think about any type of permanent landmark such as monuments and street art. Of course, it all depends on the exact location and situation, since it may be obvious in many cases to simply stick with “Turn right on Main Street.” This recent feature, though, is just one of many new capabilities Google Maps has added. It can now find you a parking spot, track friend’s locations and explore the solar system.