It is believed that there is a higher power that leads our way or controls our actions. However, when it comes to traveling, that higher power is Google Maps. Whether you are traveling within your city or 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 the 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 hidden feature from all users. This feature was embedded in Google Maps, highlighting streets with adequate lightning with a yellow color indication. This would help night-time commuters to identify roads that are well-lit during late-night travels. The feature description reads, “Yellow lines show streets with good lighting,” which would help identify routes with no or low lightning.
It is rumored 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. This year, Google provided 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 played its role in energy conservation by developing pedestrians’ features 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 tricky 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 about how exactly they plan to do this. Still, 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. Google has also introduced the weather layer on Maps for a long time, making it possible to find the city’s weather by clicking on it.
Those who think it would not be possible must know that Google Maps have been introducing new features from time to time as the Translate Button inculcated into Google Maps, translating the names and addresses to a preferred language is a handy 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 guide through unfamiliar streets through desolated areas. However, this new feature would benefit people who prefer to walk home at night, safe and secure. Similar to the Google Maps weather layer, what will be the fate of this upcoming feature. I am pleased with Google Maps and all its features; however, a question that strikes my mind and causes unrest is Does Google track every user and store their location data on its server?