Google redraws Maps faultlines with more features

Google redraws Maps faultlines with more features

Global online search giant Google Inc is moving to further Indianise its Google Maps geo-tracking software with the platform getting additional features and a stronger regional flavour.

Besides launching offline features like 360 degree navigation of historical monuments in recent months, Google Maps has unveiled a Google Maps Navigation (Beta), a free live traffic information on both the mobile and desktop versions, and the Indian version of its Person Finder application to help track people stranded in disaster-hit areas.  Google India Director and Product Manager Suren Ruhela said the company is adding more features to reach out to customers better.

“New features are also being added to the search system so that navigation is made easy. Since the priorities of our Indian customers are changing dramatically, there is a necessity for us to do more innovation and updation,” he said.

The new features will help people locate restaurants, hotels and bazaars. On top of this, businesses hours and other information pertaining to the locations are also given. Google Maps is now available with relevant landmarks in the area so that navigators can reach some locations in a city easily.

Google Maps, which recently launched the Hindi version of the navigation system, is enthused by the overwhelming response. “Going local’ is the new catchword with Google India to increase its penetration and user base. As part of this plan, Google Maps is all set to be launched in more regional languages,” Ruhela said.

“We have already made Google available in nine regional languages. Google Maps is already in Hindi and we are working towards making it available in more regional languages,” he said, adding that Google has begun working on the project which will be available in the near future.

Once implemented, users can change language preferences on the Google account settings to regional languages while using it on a desktop.

Enhance functionalities
Google will make platforms where the Application Programming Interface (API) helps people to add new features to existing applications. The API will also help integrate and enhance functionalities of applications.

“Google is aggressively pursuing efforts to make Maps a tool to help people take decisions. We want search to happen contextually. The map should be able to understand what you want at any point and adapt accordingly,” he said. Google’s entry into voice navigation has provided stiff competition to MapMyIndia, Navigon and Sygic.

Google’s Person Finder — a project of Google’s Crisis Response, the philanthropic arm of the search giant — is an online database that allows users to post and search for missing people, usually in the aftermath of natural and humanitarian disasters. The database was first used by the Internet giant after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In India, it was used for the first time during severe flooding in Uttarakhand.

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