16 December, 2009
Google India announces the launch of landmarks in driving directions for users of Google Maps. Users can now navigate around locations using Google Maps on their desktops and mobile phones using landmarks like petrol stations, banks, schools, railway stations, bus stops, local businesses & traffic circles and signals. India is the first country globally to get this feature on Google Maps.
Indians are more comfortable finding way on the streets using landmarks. Typically many roads in India are not marked with road signs and even if they are, the signs are not visible. In some cases people do not even know the road names. For instance, a friend asks you for directions to your house for a new year party, or to that nice picnic spot you recommended to celebrate a new year’s eve, you scribble some lines on a piece of paper or explain that they should take a turn from a petrol pump or a bus stop or a grocery shop! Google today enables this activity online and share with friends and family.
In India, Google has collected good landmark data through user-created "Points of Interest" in Google Map Maker. Google’s new algorithm determines which of these landmarks are most useful for navigation, based on importance, and closeness to the turns that the user is making and other available signals. With this launch, Google will now combine landmark data, counted turns ("the 2nd right"), intersection names, and road names, and try to use whatever information is most relevant and useful.
Google is providing two kinds of landmarks – to identify where users need to turn, and to provide confirmation that they’re on the right track. Google also encourages users to help make directions even better for millions of users in India by enriching landmarks data via Google Map Maker.