Google Maps Can Now Recognize Skiing As Means Of Transport

The Google Maps app is now capable of recognizing skiing as means of transport, with one user of the popular navigation service recently providing proof of that capability on Reddit. The user posted a screenshot proving that the service correctly determined that they were skiing in the Coronet Peak Ski Area in Queenstown, New Zealand, earlier this week, accurately measuring everything from distance traveled to their travel time. It's currently unclear for how long was the feature present in the app, but according to numerous users who commented on the screenshot that can be seen below, the functionality is now apparently available worldwide. Only the Android build of Google Maps is currently confirmed as being able to identify when a user is skiing, though the same feature may also be available in the iOS version of the app. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant has already been testing the feature since at least late April, according to another Reddit user who shared a screenshot that can be seen in the gallery below and shows Google Maps incorrectly determining that their cruise trip from Southampton to Porto was actually a lengthy water skiing session.

According to initial reports, the service doesn't solely rely on one's location to recognize that they're skiing; while the aforementioned example may have been relatively easy for Google Maps to get right seeing how the user in question was traversing a ski trail that was previously marked by the service, Google's solution reportedly also takes one's movement signature into account when determining their means of transport. Several other users who participated in the Reddit thread linked below claim that the app correctly recognized that they were skiing in areas where no official ski trails are listed, though the service reportedly doesn't differentiate between skiing and snowboarding. Using a combination of one's location and movement patterns, it seems that the solution is similar to the one Google Maps uses to differentiate between the act of driving a car, riding a motorcycle, or cycling a bike. Furthermore, the solution is still far from perfect, with some users claiming that Google Maps occasionally incorrectly claims they were skiing, even in areas with no slopes.

In case the service incorrectly identifies your means of transport, you're always able to modify its logs in the "Your timeline" section of the app that's accessible by tapping the hamburger menu in the top-left corner of its main user interface. Doing so will presumably help Google's algorithms get better at recognizing your future activities and hence track them more accurately.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]