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Sofiann McKerrell
14th Jan, 2016

A new feature on the Google Map app would be made available to Android users by the end of this week. Driving Mode has the capability to anticipate a user’s next destination and then provide information on how to best reach it.  With just one tap on Android, a user will know whether to wait out traffic and do something else, or use a different route.

The latest feature will also provide traffic updates and details on ETA, prices of petrol in nearby filling stations, and the quickest way to reach familiar places. All these would be delivered without the need to type in a destination.

To activate Driving Mode, users must first update Google Maps to the latest version, Google Maps v9.19. Open Google Maps after the app has been updated and follow the steps below.

  • Go to Settings found on the app’s slide-out panel on the left side.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the list of settings and sign out by tapping Sign out of Google Maps.
  • Swipe away Google Maps.
  • Re-open the app and re-open its slide-out navigation panel found on the left side.
  • Check if a Start Driving button has been added to the options list.
  • Go back to settings and log back in to Google Maps.

Activation of Driving Mode may differ from one device to another, said the Android Police, but the steps above worked for a majority of users.

Driving Mode can be accessed in two ways—through the app’s sidebar menu and then choosing Start Driving option and by adding a shortcut. Press and hold down the home screen until Android widgets appear. Select the shortcut icon of Google Maps driving feature and then add it to the home screen.

This new feature can anticipate where a user wants to go next based on their recent location history, web searches, and device information. It can make assumptions based on the data previously mined. Details on ETAs are provided based on the location and time of day for destinations recently searched, according to a Google’s spokesperson.

Image of a Google Map with information on the distance to place of Work and the length of time needed to get there.

Driving Mode is only available for Android and in selected countries, including US, Great Britain, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and Ireland. It is only limited to the English language as well.

The latest update on Google Maps app also added an Audio toggle on the navigation page that can be used to switch sounds for alerts only, mute, and unmute. A settings screen has also been added on the timeline where a user can curate what appears on it, and manage what data would be collected through the ‘Timeline settings’ option, which replaced the Manage Location settings on the overflow menu of the timeline view.