A new feature in Google Maps will help you find parking – or rather, it will mentally prepare you for how difficult it will be to find a parking space at your destination. Google says it’s now using “historical parking data” to calculate a parking difficulty score, which will be displayed in Google Maps’ directions card as “Limited,” “Medium,” or “Easy,” depending on the parking situation in that area.
This parking feature was spotted earlier this month, when users of Google Maps’ beta on Android noticed the addition.
It’s yet another example of how Google has begun to leverage Google Maps’ massive install base and the data that generates to create new features that inform users of what to expect at their destination.
For example, Google used anonymized location data and searches to launch “Popular Times” in November, an iteration on an earlier tool that would allow you to see a business’s most hectic hours. The tool, which appears in Search and Google Maps, now works in real-time.
However, Google’s parking feature doesn’t seem to take into account current conditions (at least yet), as the company says it uses “historical” data to determine the parking difficulty.
To view the parking info, you first have to get directions to your destination. Then, a new parking difficulty icon will appear on the directions card at the bottom of the screen.
Of course, this sort of informational tool is something that’s more useful in denser, urban areas.
That’s why Google is launching the feature first in 25 U.S. metros, including: San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento.
The option is also only available on Google Maps for Android for the time being, but like other Maps additions, it should roll out to iOS at a later date.