Google Maps is one of the most useful services on our smartphones and as it matures, it only seems to get better. Google adds and tests various features on Maps on a pretty regular basis and while some are desired more than others, they are all appreciated. Right now, Google is testing out a new feature within Maps which can show users what kind of parking they should expect at their destination.
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Update: Google has officially confirmed this addition to Google Maps. As we expected, Google is powering this service similar to how it calculates its “Popular Times” feature. The feature is limited by location, including major cities including: San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento.
As first discovered by an Android Police reader, Google’s latest addition to the service gives estimates on how difficult it will be to find a parking space at various public locations.
Three levels of difficulty are listed by the app ─ Easy, Medium, or Limited. Maps will display a small icon next to the route’s duration and distance along with one of the three levels. To view more information, you can enter the route’s written directions which will also explain what parking conditions to expect, for example, “Parking is usually limited near this destination.” Apparently, this feature will only make itself known when visiting frequently visited public locations such as attractions, malls & stores, as well as airports.
It’s unclear exactly how Google is finding this data, but we would presume that the company is basing these estimates using the same methods it uses to create real-time traffic data (both on the road and in public locations). Due to that, it’s likely that these estimates may not be entirely accurate, but we’ll just have to wait and see until this rolls out on a wider scale.
So far, only a few users are seeing the change, but it’s primarily appearing on Google Maps v9.44 beta which you can currently sideload if you would like to try your luck.