Google Maps Driving Mode will second-guess your destination

14 Jan 2016

Google Maps will soon be introducing a new feature that uses its analytical powers to try to predict where you’re driving and offering you the best route to get there … if you’re actually going there.

The new Google Maps Driving Mode aims to be quite similar to what we’ve seen with Google Now up until now, with its churning analytical machine registering your daily routines and trying to predict what you’d like to know and where you’d like to go.

Just like the way Google Now is able to tell you that your bus home from work is due in 30 minutes, Driving Mode will effectively give Google Maps its own standalone service that will tell you whether you’d be better off waiting for a while before hitting the road to avoid traffic.

Revealed to VentureBeat, Google has said that it also envisions Driving Mode will be able to effectively guess where you’re going – such as your job or home – and tell you the quickest way to get there.

Of course, this might not be ideal if you happen to have it on during your day off but Google’s voice tells you that you should probably go home or, even worse, to work.

Ireland one of the lucky few

Android users have two options of using Driving Mode: either through the familiar Google Maps app, or it can also be put on the user’s home page with an Android widget.

Explaining it further, a Google spokesperson said: “With a simple shortcut on your home screen, you’ll head straight into the new Driving Mode so you’re sure to get where you’re going on the quickest route possible — without entering a destination. Get information like ETAs, traffic updates, nearby gas prices, and quickest routes to familiar places — like home, work, and recently-searched destinations — all from your home screen.”

The data harvested to create the suggested destinations is nothing new for Google, targeting your recent location and search history as well as the destinations you’ve entered before and even judging the time of day to suggest where you’re going.

Interestingly, Ireland is one of the few countries in the world that will be getting access to Driving Mode when it launches properly at the end of this week, along with Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the US, the UK and the United Arab Emirates, so keep an eye on your Google Maps updates.

Google Maps in a car image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic