Patent application shows cool new Google Maps feature for groups traveling to same destination

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Google has filed a patent application for a new Google Maps feature that will help a group of people driving to the same location receive navigation and turn-by-turn directions to this one destination. With the unwieldy title of “providing navigation instructions to one device in view of another device,” the innovation here delivers “group navigation” to Google Maps users. The group navigation is designed for multiple people heading to the same location but leaving from different places.
Here’s how this might work. The first driver punches in the destination and invites the other drivers to join the group. All members of the group must be Google members according to the patent application. The bottom line is that everyone in the group will see personalized directions to the same location. Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) will also be available for all members of the group so if you’re the first to arrive at the destination, you’ll be able to see when the rest of the party is expected to arrive.

Even better, Google Maps will be able to use traffic conditions obtained from the lead vehicle to alert the others about traffic jams, accidents, and when an alternative route is necessary to avoid a huge delay. The lead vehicle can also give the others information on where to park which will allow the other members of the group to know in advance of their arrival where they should park their cars.

Eventually, Google Maps could recommend speed adjustments so that all members of a group will arrive at the destination at the same time. The patent application also suggests Google Maps could add a voice chat application which would allow the members of a group to communicate with each other during the journey. Considering that there are already ways that members of such a group can stay in constant touch while traveling to the same destination, it is possible that Google won’t see this as something urgent that needs to be developed.

While there is no guarantee that Google will add this feature to Google Maps, it would be a great addition to the app especially for families who meet up every year at a location for a driving vacation. Google, like many other tech companies, applies for a large number of patents each year while only a small percentage of them ever become real innovations.


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