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New Google Maps Features for Driving Directions and Electric Vehicles

May 2, 2024 /
All industries  /   Algorithm Updates 

In time for 2024’s Earth Day, Google announced a slew of new Google Travel and Google Maps features aimed around sustainable choices, as well as improved utilities for electric vehicles. For marketers with EV Charging stations, ensuring proper data management continues to be a priority.

Updates to Google Maps, Travel, and Search

1. Driving alternatives in Google Maps:
Google’s driving directions will soon show public transit options within the driving tab, no longer keeping those suggestions segregated as they once were. This suggestion to use buses and other public transport will only come if times are comparable. This means that a 10-minute bus ride will be shown along 8-minute drives, while a several hour-long train route will not be offered along side a far shorter car route. This feature will see its first launch in over 15 cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Montreal, Paris, Rome and Sydney.

2. Trains & buses in Google Search:
Google will display ticket prices, train schedules, and bus information directly in Google Search, no longer needing to click through to the transit providers website for route information. This is currently available for rail travel in 38 countries around the world, as well as long-distance buses in 15 countries.

3. Train suggestions on Google Flights:
Car rentals are a common package deal for those flying into new countries. Google Flights however will now also offer train route suggestions in the flight search results. This feature it planned to roll out in the next few months.

4. Travel Impact Model:
Google currently shows estimated emissions in Google Flights and already suggests the most eco-friendly routes in Maps. Google is now opening up those estimates through its Developer APIs, a Google Sheets extension, and a calculator on the TIM website.

EV Specific Announcements

1. EV Charging Station Pins:
Google will highlight nearby EV charging stations for in-car Maps, with information about station availability and charging speeds. With this information front and center, local businesses which offer charging should ensure their listing information is up to date.

2. AI-powered summaries for EV charging stations:
To help find the best charging stations in Maps, an AI algorithm will summarize collections of user reviews to suggest charging stations. Along with pulling reviews from the Google Business Profiles which already mention the charging stations, Google is also launching a new EV charging reviews form, giving users a specific place to comment on that business feature.

3. Multi-waypoint EV trip planning:
When users create a multi-stop trip, in-car Google Maps will suggest required charging stops. This feature will be available globally in the coming months for vehicles with Google built in.

4. Hotel with EV Support Billboarding:
Within Maps and Travel, Google will specifically highlight hotels with EV charging support. For those traveling using EVs, this is a must-have feature and an amenity that all hotels must ensure is included on their listing.
Many of these features can be viewed as simple quality of life improvements, making a better user experience for those who use these Google products. From the marketing side of things though, any Google update that specifically focuses on one specific niche needs to be taken into account by business owners. With several of these new updates highlighting and promoting EV charging stations, any business which offers this amenity needs to make sure that it is properly listed on their Google Business Profile. With Google telling EV owners to book specific hotels and plan trips around relevant EV charging stations, you do not want your business to be the one which misses those leads and instead has those customers visiting your competitors.