Just a couple days after Google-owned Waze announced updates in anticipation of the Olympic Games, Google Maps has unveiled improvements of its own. And not a moment too soon — the Summer Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday, and with all the other issues this year’s games are facing, it’s looking like navigation won’t be one of them.
With 6 million people living in Rio, and the addition of 10,000 athletes, 500,000 travelers, and tens of thousands of volunteers crowding the city, Google notes that mapping the busy metropolis has proven to be a tough task. But on Friday, the internet giant put “the finishing touches on some first-prize-worthy updates to help tourists and Rio residents alike get around ‘the Marvelous City’ with ease.”
First and foremost, Google is working in tandem with the city’s government to maintain the most up-to-date traffic, road closure, and detour information possible on Maps so that travelers can get from Point A to Point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. Regardless of what mode of transportation you’re using, Google promises that its navigation tool “can be your real-world assistant.”
In addition to getting visitors to their desired location, Google Maps’ Rio update also helps them explore the Brazilian city. Just tap “Explore food & drinks near you” at the bottom of the Google Maps app to reveal the best dining and drinking spots around you, because cheering for your favorite teams will definitely have you working up an appetite.
Thanks to a partnership with Brazilian nonprofit Grupo Cultural AfroReggae, Google has also released a new project called “Tá No Mapa” or “It’s On the Map.” Google says 150 favela, or slum, residents were trained on digital mapping, which has helped get more than 3,000 local businesses on the map. “Not only does this allow locals to find businesses like Bar do David — an award-winning restaurant in the favela Chapeu Mangueira — it’s helped some local residents get a mailing address for the first time,” Google said.
Even if you can’t be in Rio for these games, Google’s looking out for you. With the latest refresh of the Google Street View imagery in the city, virtual travelers can get a close-up look at the stadiums and other Rio highlights.
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