Google Maps, which is continually releasing new features and updates to further improve the experience for its millions of users, reportedly has another one in the pipeline that will focus on making navigation at night safer.
XDA Developers spotted code in the Google Maps v10.31.0 beta that reveals the Lighting Layer, which will show streets that have good lighting. Activating the feature will highlight well-lit streets in yellow, and there will also be indicators for streets with poor to no lighting.
The code suggests that Google Maps users will need to zoom in to see the lighting data and that the feature will initially be available only in certain regions. There is no information, however, on which countries will first receive the Lighting Layer, and when it will be added to the public version of the app.
No screenshots of the feature were available, as it is currently in development and not yet live. It is unclear how Google will acquire the necessary information for the filter, and how it will be able to keep that information updated as lighting fixtures are added to streets, or if they get broken.
The feature will be a welcome addition to people who rely on Google Maps whenever they are in unfamiliar territories, such as tourists walking or driving in foreign cities or countries. It will also help people plan safer routes, avoiding streets with poor to no lighting.
Google Maps’ Lighting Layer will eventually join a long list of features for the navigation app, which has increasingly become a versatile tool for travellers. Google recently started experimenting with placing Local Guides in the For You section for easy-to-access travel tips, and has added to the app certain capabilities of Google Translate to make it easier to move around in foreign countries.
Some of the features rolled out by Google Maps this year that focus on the safety of its users include improved voice guidance and verbal announcements for users who are blind or have limited vision, and a new navigation warning system on natural disasters that will lead people away from potentially dangerous situations.