Google has introduced a feature for its Maps software that allows people to preview their journey in detail and offers many advantages for bike riders.
Called Immersive View for routes, the Google Maps extension allows users to map out a journey as usual, but takes them on a bird's-eye-view to visualise the trip ahead. That includes routes along dedicated bike paths and lanes.
"Google Maps provides 20 billion kilometres of directions each day, imagine if you could see your whole trip in advance," says Google CEO Sundar Pichai. "With Immersive View for Maps, now you can."
Google will begin by rolling out Immersive View for routes in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Paris, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Tokyo, and Venice in the coming months.
The product was introduced in 2022 and allows users to swoop in on cities and neighbourhoods for a closer look. It is built on billions of aerial images, fused together with computer vision and artificial intelligence.
In addition to reviews and general information on landmarks and businesses, Immersive View has a slider that allows users to view the environment at different times of day.
This feature could be useful for bike riders as it incorporates historic traffic data that could be used to simulate the number of cars on the road at different times of the day.
The time slider allows users to tap into this information, along with changes in simulated weather and air quality. Together, these insights might just help the savvy bike rider plan the perfect journey, with minimal motor traffic, the cleanest air and the biggest chance of staying dry.