Google Maps now uses Street View images to save you from getting lost

google maps street view navigation 3431619  turning wheel at high speed in the countryside
Joseasreyes/123RF

Google Maps recently rolled out a handy update designed to make it even easier to find your destination when using its turn-by-turn navigation feature.

Currently available for the Android version of Maps, the latest update means that when you’re using the app for directions in the usual way, you’ll also see images pulled from Street View showing the precise place where you need to make a turn.

Seeing a photographic representation of the spot, coupled with spoken and on-screen directions, leaves you with little excuse for missing a turn — as long as major construction work hasn’t taken place since Google’s camera-laden car last rolled by.

The handy feature, viewable when you tap on the time and distance information that appears at the bottom of Maps after you request directions, could prove useful for prepping a journey, and should also save you or your passengers having to squint for street names when approaching a tricky or hard-to-locate turn.

Indeed, it’ll be safer if the driver leaves the Street View imagery to any available passengers. This is because the pictures appear on the navigation screen as thumbnails, so you’ll have to tap on the image to make it bigger. In other words, unless you pull over, it could start getting fiddly when you have a car to drive and a road to watch.

When you tap on the thumbnail, the orientation of the enlarged image helpfully matches your direction of travel, according to Android Police, which first spotted the unannounced feature. The site also notes how the feature has been included with the web version of Maps for many years, so it’s good news that the developers have finally seen fit to incorporate it into the mobile alternative.

But as we said, it currently only works on Android devices, though hopefully iPhone users won’t have to wait too long to get the same functionality. We’ll keep you posted.