Google Maps adds new features for Bangladeshi roads including a biker mode, safety feature and more

Google has launched several new features to Google Maps for the convenience of the people of Bangladesh at a launching event today at Lakeshore Hotel, Gulshan.

From now on, riders will get better journey time estimates and suggested routes best suited to bikes. The people will now have the option of getting their navigation cues in Bangla.

As the popularity of ride-sharing services increases, everyone now will have the option of double-checking their commute and sharing the trip with friends and family. This safety feature triggers an audible alert if there is greater than a 0.5km deviation from the suggested route.

“We want to provide the most local and relevant experience to meet people’s needs so we hope that by providing a customized experience for motorcycles, adding Bangla voice navigation, and providing an extra option for commuter safety makes getting around Bangladesh easier and more helpful.”

Krish Vitaldevara, Director Product Management, Google Maps commented regarding this

Extra help for motorcycle riders 

Google Maps now features a new navigation mode for motorcycle riders. Motorcycles also have specific needs. They can take routes that cars can’t take such as narrow roads and alleys. There are also some roads (e.g. highways) where two-wheelers aren’t allowed. Motorcycles often move at different speeds than cars. 

This definitely comes as good news with more than half the country’s households owning a motorcycle as a common way to get about and cut-through traffic. In Dhaka alone, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) data show that the number of registered motorcycles has doubled over the last eight years.

Previously, riders would need to do a mental calculation to estimate their arrival times. It was based on a combination of walking and driving routes. But this new feature delivers more accurate travel times based on machine learning models that reflect motorbike speeds. Not only turn-by-turn navigation but the direction results also include Google Street View image references, to help people with pre-trip planning and remember their routes.

Turn-by-turn voice directions in Bangla

Another update rolling out is turn-by-turn voice navigation in the local language. Now you can expect Google Maps to effortlessly tell you to “In 100 meters, turn right onto Bir Uttam Rafiqul Islam Avenue” in Bangla.

The Google Maps voice navigation language is independent of your device’s language setting. You could have voice-guided navigation in Bangla while continuing to use the Google Maps app in English.

You can also change your phone language settings to “Bangla (Bangladesh)” and Maps voice navigation will automatically give you directions in Bangla.

Safer trips

Now, after searching for your destination and getting directions, you can enable this experience by selecting the “Stay safer” and “Set off-route alerts” option. 

If your cab, rickshaw or ride-sharing driver deviates more than 0.5km from the Google Maps suggested a route, your phone will buzz with a prominent notification and you can tap it to see where you are compared to the original route.

You can also choose to share your live trip with friends and family directly from that screen so they know you are off route and can keep track of your journey, and take appropriate action if required.

Improving the map in Bangladesh

Since January 2018, Google has added more than 50,000km of roads, more than 8 million buildings, and more than 600,000 points of interests on Google Maps across Bangladesh and continue to update it.

Ready to give all these new features a try? They are now all available to Android users in Bangladesh using the latest version of Google Maps. 

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