Google announced some tweaks it has made to both its Google Search and Google Maps application and services, which are aimed directly at fans of cycling. The new adjustments come following the start of the 104th Grand Tour – a major event in cycling, with the winner earning a very special yellow jersey. In fact, the latest changes to the apps do not only apply to this tour but are also geared towards cyclists in general and serves as a promotion of these two extremely popular services.
The enhancements being brought with the improvements, according to the official Keyword blog, will help fans follow the various tours more intuitively and to create their own routes using the maps application. First off, users can search Google either on the web or in app for specific tours, such as the Grand Tour or Tour de France, and the search will now result in not only the latest news articles about that topic but also up-to-date information about competing athletes, past winners, current race standings, and stage-by-stage results. Searches for the Tour de France, in particular, will now also include real-time updates. Beyond the more professional tours and news, Google has also made maps more cyclist-friendly than ever. In addition to previous enhancements that made it easy for cyclists to get from one place to another, using Maps to navigate, route suggestions will be made with the availability of bike trails factored in. Moreover, Maps will factor in road size, bike lane availability, hills, and the number of turns that must be taken while suggesting routes. Riders can also blaze their own paths. In the Bike section of Maps, accessible by clicking the bike icon in the menu – located in the application's overflow menu at the bottom of the screen in Android – users can turn on the "bike layer." That layer overlays color-coordinated routes based on how well that route works for biking.
Google's Maps application has had some cyclist-focused enhancements for a while now, alongside countless updates to make the application more accessible to just about everybody. However, the latest improvements, in particular, are likely to be popular among those whose primary means of getting around is via bicycle. One key concern of riders is the difficulties associated with finding a good route that accommodates for people who don't have the protections afforded by sitting in an automobile. The improvements should serve as a confidence booster, ensuring that users are taking the best route possible for their means of transportation. Meanwhile, for enthusiasts, the additional information that can be found now in a Google search is likely a welcome addition, too, as Google continues to make its search smarter and relevant information easier to find.