While using Google Maps for your own navigation is great, it has a dual purpose as a tracker to make sure your Uber, taxi, or public transport is sticking to the track laid out before them. Google appears to be testing taxi wrong-route alerts in India to help us stay safer in private and public transport.
Picked up by the team over at XDA Developers, we’re sure that this potential feature will help you stay safe no matter whether you use private taxi services or public transport.
[Update 06/26]: Google India has now officially announced the feature and how it will help riders stay safe. They also explained how to enable the feature and how it will act once enabled.
Now, after searching for your destination and getting directions, you can enable this experience by selecting the “Stay safer” and “Get off-route alerts” option. If your driver deviates more than 0.5KM from the Google Maps suggested route, your phone will buzz with a prominent notification, and you can tap it to see where you are compared to the original route. Then, you can also choose to share your live trip with friends and family directly from that screen so they know you are off route and can keep track of your journey, and take appropriate action, if required.
The feature should be rolling out to you if you have an Android phone and are based in India. There’s no word if the feature is spreading globally as yet.
This comes right off the back of the recent additions of natural disaster safety alerts and speedometer settings, both of which are useful in very different ways. These latest wrong-route alerts new alerts will ping your device if you happen to veer off course by 500 meters.
If you are vastly off course, Maps will then attempt to re-route your journey — as it would in your normal navigation method. To access these taxi alerts within Google Maps, you just need to activate a toggle within the ‘stay safer’ panel. From there you can share your live journey too.
While services like Uber do offer live tracking for friends and family, this is an awesome addition that will give you peace of mind when in the back of a cab in an unknown (or known) city. This taxi alert feature within Google Maps will also serve a dual purpose by ensuring that you don’t get ripped off by unscrupulous taxi drivers around the globe.
At present, the feature has only been spotted in India according to XDA. It’s not clear if the feature will roll out globally as yet. That said, India is becoming somewhat of a testbed for new Maps features, it isn’t surprising given the recent live transit tracking added to the application within the nation.
If you are seeing the taxi alerts within Google Maps and you are not in India, be sure to let us know down in the comments section.
More on Google Maps:
- Google SOS alerts gain real-time natural disaster data, safe Maps navigation
- Google Maps rolling out live speedometer feature in US, some EU nations
- Google Maps now shows live train, bus times, and much more in India
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