Google Maps has had driving directions since launch — and it has quickly become an indispensable tool for people who need to know how to drive somewhere. Today, Google announced a new feature that is designed to help people plan their walk from source to destination.
It’s different than driving in that Google doesn’t have to abide by one-way streets — unfortunately, it still doesn’t know how to let you cut through parks if you didn’t want to walk on the sidewalk the whole way. This new feature also gives you an idea of how long it will take you to walk your route too — simple driving time estimates wouldn’t cut it.
Google warns, though, that this service may not yet produce the best results — there is a lot of unknown data that would have an impact on the directions they offer, such as pedestrian pathways and streets without sidewalks.
Walking directions work well for short trips in urban areas, but we don’t always know if a street has a sidewalk, or if there’s actually a special pedestrian bridge for crossing a busy street. There are still a lot of pedestrian pathways we don’t know about, and they might save you some time if you find them. We’re working on collecting new data on pedestrian pathways and on more effective ways to solicit your feedback, so that we can steadily improve this feature and get you where you need to be as efficiently as possible.
They also warn that you should be cautious when walking through unknown areas — probably a smart move, considering Google hasn’t yet incorporated an “avoiding the hood” algorithm.