Google is testing a new feature that shows users the locations of traffic lights in its Maps navigation app.
The feature was first spotted by a US-based reader of Droid Life, who was using Google Maps build version 10.44.3.
The reader provided the publication with screenshots of the app showing traffic light icons placed on roads and at intersections when browsing on a map or while in navigation.
Google has since confirmed to The Verge that it is testing the feature in several cities in the US – including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, and that it plans to expand it over time.
The benefit of such a feature is obvious – drivers using the app may be able to avoid routes with many traffic lights if they are pressed for time.
Already in Apple Maps
Apple has been showing the locations of traffic lights and stop signs in Apple Maps since the rollout of iOS 13 in September 2019.
The feature also integrates with voice directions given by Siri. For example, instead of being told to turn right after a certain distance, Siri will instruct the user to make a right turn at the next traffic light or stop street sign.
According to the Droid Life reader, Google Maps’ version of the feature currently doesn’t adapt route instructions or voice notifications in the same way.
Below are images of the Google Maps feature as published by Droid Life.
Google Maps Plus Codes
Google recently added its Plus Codes feature for users of its Android Maps app.
A Plus Code is a digital address derived from latitude and longitude coordinates which mimics a street address for people who don’t have one.
The code appears as a simple alphanumeric code which can be combined with a locality (for example, 7656+5G, Pretoria, South Africa).
Google said the feature will make it easier to locate around two billion people across the world who don’t have an official living address or one which is hard to locate.
This could be particularly valuable in a country like South Africa, where a large number of people live in informal settlements in rural areas without easily-definable locations.