Google has launched Walking Directions, a beta feature, on Google Maps that provides people with directions for walking in city localities. The feature offers some useful advantages over regular driving directions, as it ignores the one-way driving direction of the streets, and more importantly as they purportedly give pedestrians a flatter walkable route avoiding slopes where possible. The Walking Directions help one walk through short distances – the distance between your starting and end points is limited to 6.2 miles, or 10 kilometers.
Some Google Maps users began using Walking Directions about two weeks ago and the tests carried out by the company went well, and now the feature is available to all.
As of now, apparently, Google has not perfectly zeroed in on the shortest possible sidewalk routes in many places as it is not fully aware of the layout of the sidewalks around. But it is obvious that it will be able to give more direct and shortest walking routes soon. Google is believed to be gradually adding more information about traffic, pedestrian bridges, and the sidewalks. Even crime statistics relating to particular areas would be added.
Andrew Schwerin, Google Software Engineer in the company’s Kirkland office, says,
There are still a lot of pedestrian pathways we don’t know about, and they might save you some time if you find them
As one tries a directions search on Google Maps in a city, for instance, he will see the ‘Walking’ link activated on the top of the page. Google is careful about being taken to task by any one and it has included this disclaimer following the beta notice: Use caution when walking in unfamiliar areas.
Walking Directions is technically in its beta version. Improvements will continue to occur over time as Google adds more and more useful add-ons to it.