Over the last year or two, we’ve seen Google add feature after feature to Google Maps. Some have commented questioning if there’s anything else that Google could really do. They offer standard features like the option to get driving directions or search for businesses and attractions, but they also offer Street View and Traffic modes along with satellite imagery. You can also view photos on the map (thanks to Panoramio) and Wikipedia entries, and get public transit information as well. We’ve just touched the surface on the all of the features that they offer, so what could they possibly be thinking of and working on next? Walking directions.
The Google Operating System Blog was the first to point out this walking directions feature. It appears as though Google is just allowing a handful of people to test it, and it’s probably a small number of people because not many have said that they have access to it yet. There’s no word on which cities this is available in either, but below is a screenshot which gives us an idea of what it looks like:
Notice that they point out that the walking direction are in beta. They also caution about walking in unfamiliar areas. I guess they want to make sure they cover themselves against any possible lawsuits from people walking into bad areas of town. One of the commenters on the Google Operating System Blog noted that when they tried it in New York, it had him walking through buildings. Another questioned whether or not the system is smart enough to have someone walk on paths through parks when available and avoid non-walkable areas like tunnels.
Clearly Google doesn’t have its walking directions perfected quite yet, but there’s definitely potential. Remember, chances are, you probably won’t have this feature available to you quite yet.