Google has given festivalgoers, flea market shoppers and the like limited help over the years with automated efforts aimed at helping people find their cars when it's time to leave, but a new update to Google Maps finally takes control of that mechanism out of beta and into all Maps users' hands. The newly added tool is deceptively simple; so long as location tracking is enabled, just pull up Maps and tap on "Save your parking." From there, you'll be able to add in details to help you find the vehicle such as rows or nearby landmarks, among other nifty features.
Once the app has a fix on you and you've logged where you parked, you can add in custom notes to help you find your car. You can also send a screenshot of your parking location to friends, allowing them to find your car just as easily as you. As a bonus, the new option has a helpful feature for parking meters and timed spots in garages; users can tell the app how long their parking spot is good for, and they'll get a reminder 15 minutes before that time if they haven't already gone back to their car and left. You can even take a photo of your car in your parking spot, letting you see exactly what landmarks to look for when you leave. This works in pairing with all the usual features found in Maps, such as sharing your location and seeing what's nearby, and is even found in the same menu.
The new feature is rolling out to the Google Maps app on the server side, and will not require an update in the Play Store. Users on both Android and iOS should notice the new feature showing up for them in the very near future. Those who want to can use the old automatic parking detection system, which is triggered by removing your phone from your car's USB port or Bluetooth system at the destination, in concert with the new features in this update like taking a picture of the parking spot, setting up special notes, implementing meter expiration, or sharing your parking location with friends.