Google Maps Will Now Show Speed Limits Everywhere

Mobility, Travel Apps
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Google is rolling out an update for its popular Google Maps app on Android and iOS. This update will add a small but extremely useful feature to Google Maps. The app will show now the allowed speed limit.

If you are living in the Bay Area around San Francisco, you were lucky and were able to use this feature for almost 2 years. It was supposed to be already working in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I can confirm that it worked in San Francisco for a long time already.

On my small road trip today, I double checked and there it was. I had a speed limit display on Google Maps while I used the app’s navigation feature. It worked fine on major highways and Interstates around Seattle. However, when I took 101 from Olympia towards the coast, the speed limit information disappeared. Seems that not every area is charted very well. Which is a surprise to me, because the Waze app shows the speed limit pretty much everywhere in the US and abroad. Google bought Waze in 2013 and used some of the social-navigation features to better calculate drive times and show accidents and traffic on Google Maps.

I like Waze a lot as it lets you know about accidents, road issues, construction, traffic, speed traps and much more. However, Google Maps gives better navigation directions. For example, Google Maps tells you to take the second of the right lane when you have two lanes for the left turn but you will have to make a right turn shortly thereafter. With Waze, you get surprised in situations like this.

Also, it is easier for me to select a destination in Google Maps. Some addressed I had to use, didn’t have a street number and I had to use the POI-name. This worked most of the time in Waze but not always. In Google Maps it shows way more places with detailed information and you can just select it and hit the “Directions” button.

The new speed limit display is rolling out nationwide at the moment. The information will pop up automatically as soon as you start the navigation process to any destination. Don’t worry if you don’t see it right away. Maybe the street you are driving on is not charted yet.

The speed limit is now shown in the lower left corner.

Two downsides about the speed limit display in Google Maps compared to Waze. Waze shows the speed limit all the time as well but as soon as you hit the limit or go over, it has a small animation which lets you know that you are now over the speed limit and it also shows your current speed versus the speed limit. The second advantage of Waze is, that you can just start the app, even without entering a destination and Waze will display the speed limit.

I am very excited about this small feature. It might be not as important for some of you. Sometimes you get distracted while driving and you might miss a speed limit sign and around the next corner, a cop is waiting for you. Now you will know the speed limit even when you missed to look at the sign on the side of the road.

Besides displaying the speed limit now, Google added another useful feature. While navigating you can see a new button on the right which will allow you to report speed traps and accidents. Hopefully, Google Maps will warn us in the future about such things as well.

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