Google Maps tests feature that will help drivers avoid crashes, speed traps

Google has recently been doubling down on efforts to add even more features to its Maps app, though the latest effort is currently in the test phase.

Directed at motorists using navigation, the feature lets you report crashes and speed traps and then uses the crowdsourced data to create more efficient routes for other drivers or warn them of approaching hazards.

It was spotted by Android Police in an APK teardown a few months back, and now it’s started to appear for a select number of users who’re using Google Maps on Android.

If you’re one of them, you’ll see a new report button with a “+” sign inside a speech bubble at the bottom left of the Maps display. Tap on it and you can add details of a crash or speed trap, with the data helping Maps to better calculate routes or send alerts to users when they’re approaching a hazard.

A similar feature is already available in Waze, the navigation app that Google acquired in 2013. With that in mind, it’s something of a surprise that the crash and speed trap buttons have taken this long to show up in Google Maps, even if it’s only as a test at this stage.

Should the trial prove useful for Google Maps’ functionality and popular with users, we can expect to see the feature rolled out to everyone before too long. However, as with all tests, there’s no guarantee that crash and speed trap reporting will show up in a future update.

Updates, updates, updates

Google seems to have been busier than ever recently, adding a slew of new features to Maps.

In the last month alone, it’s added a “follow” button to the Android version so you can keep track of your favorite businesses and be the first to find out about things like special offers and upcoming events. Real-time journey tracking for iPhone (Android already has it) has also been added, along with improved navigation for less stressful commutes, group polling to help you and your buddies decide where to eat, and locations for EV charging stations.

Want to find out how to get the most out of Google Maps? Then check out this informative guide that includes everything you need to know.

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