Google is looking to explore navigation beyond roadways and bike or walking trails, based on a new trademark from the search giant spotted by Android Headlines at the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The trademark applies to the marketing term "NAVIMAL" and doesn't betray too many details. Its classifications do specifically point to software designed to offer navigational and mapping information, containing additional key market terms such as "nautical", "surveying", and "signaling."
The term "checking (supervision)" also makes an appearance, possibly indicating that the tool is intended for providing some form of oversight for an enterprise environment. Google already offers supervision of children and family members through its Family Link application and navigation for use on land with Maps. So a new application for navigation of waterways seems more likely.
This could complete the services offered in Maps
Google's history with mapping data is by no means short and the company has consistently released updates to improve its product in the years following its introduction. Some of those changes have leaned toward more personalization, including the recent addition of Google Assistant functionality and integration of local discovery tools.
Google Assistant in Maps is straightforward, working just like it does elsewhere in Android, but the other tools were something completely different. With the addition of the 'For You' tab, rolling out to more than 100 countries late last year, users can now discover their local surroundings from eateries to entertainment at the tap of a tab. That focus on improvements has led to better overall accuracy and usefulness. But the most recent changes, such as the rollout of speed limits for drivers has placed emphasis on usefulness.
Pinpointing ways to make Maps more helpful to everybody isn't new either. The search giant has been providing schedules for other modes of transportation since very early on. Google Maps currently includes public transit from buses and ferries to trains and trams in its app, stacked on top of the cycling, walking, and driving modes of transportation already mentioned.
By adding a new transportation mode or launching a new app centered around getting from point A to point B by boat, Google's Maps application would arguably be complete. Those who frequent lakes, rivers, and other waterways would be able to use the software that's already on their device to travel without having to download other apps.
Brushing aside speculation
While all signs seem to indicate that Google wants to add yet another mode of transportation to Maps if not launch a new app entirely, that isn't necessarily the case. Trademarks are generally filed fairly early into the development or exploration of a service in order to protect marketing terms or branding if and when a product launches but aren't always followed through to completion.
In fact, Navimal may not be any kind of application for enterprise customers either.
Google hasn't always been the most organized with its applications, as shown by its multitude of messaging apps and its introduction and later dismissal of Inbox in favor of Gmail. But it wouldn't make sense for the company to cannibalize its current business by launching a new app that disassociates from its long-standing core mapping offering.