Next time when you board an Uber or Ola from the airport, railway station or from a friend’s place at midnight anywhere in India, keep your Google Maps on. In case the driver deviates from the designated drop route for 500 metres, your phone would buzz with a prominent notification – informing you about the deviation and you can promptly alert the cab-hailing service, near and dear ones, or even cops.
Called “Stay Safer”, the India-first feature was rolled out from Wednesday that would alert Android users travelling in public vehicles like taxis or auto rickshaws if their drivers deviate more than 0.5 km from the suggested route on Google Maps.
The users’ phones would buzz with a prominent notification which they would be able to tap on and see where they are compared to the original route.
“Through our extensive research across India, we found that a lot of people limit their mobility due to safety-related concerns. To address this, we are launching this India-first feature,” said Amanda Bishop, Product Manager, Google Maps.
After searching for your destination and getting directions, select the “Stay Safer” and “Get off-route alerts” option.
The feature, tested exclusively in India, would also allow users to choose to share the live trip with friends and family directly from the screen so they know and can keep track of the journey.
For now, it remains unclear if users in other countries would also get the “Stay Safer” feature or not. Google has lately been updating Maps with a plethora of features including a speedometer and support for showing radar locations.
The company also launched three new public transport features including live train status, to help Map users in 10 of the largest cities in India to see bus travel times from live traffic, get live train status for Indian Railways and get mixed-mode commute suggestions that now combine auto-rickshaw and public transport.