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Google Maps “Driving Mode” is rolling out worldwide

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Awhile back we published an article about Google Maps‘ latest feature: Driving Mode. Back then I downloaded an APK to try the program out early, but now it’s finally rolling out, for real, globally.

Driving Mode is, in a way, Google’s method of telling you that they know exactly where you’re going all the time. I jest, of course, the true purpose of this is to help you get to where you’re going as fast as possible with as little effort as possible.

In a nutshell, once you “Start driving”, Google will guess where you’re going based on the time of day and your travel history, and suggest the fastest route to that destination.

You can then just leave the timer to run down and Google Maps will kick in and navigate you to your desired destination. If you don’t want to, you can just hit the tiny “x” and just drive. Driving Mode will continue to show you which roads are congested with a colour scheme (green for good, orange for heavy, red for congested).

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To access this, simply fire up the app and pull out the hamburger menu. Then, hit “Start driving” and you’re good to go. Maps will ask you if you want to add a Driving Mode shortcut to your home screen for added convenience.

I was honestly a little disappointed in Driving Mode because I expected more. I wanted a more passive navigation system, rather than have it set a route then kick into the regular Maps turn-by-turn navigation that often beeps at me for not sticking to their pre-planned route.

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Instead, I would rather have them find out where I’m going, suggest a fast route and then as I’m driving along whatever route I chose, passively detect if there is congestion ahead. Should there be congestion ahead, I would have liked it if Maps prompted me and informed me of a faster route indicating how much time I would save and ask me if I would want to deviate instead.

Of course, this is probably just me getting wrapped up in my own selfish fantasies of what technology should do. Driving Mode, I’m sure, will please a whole bunch of people who are tired after a long day at work and want their navigation app to guide them home.

Though I can’t help but feel that it, in its current iteration, is a little more like a gimmick than a useful standalone feature. What do you guys think of Driving Mode? Let me know in the comments below!

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