Google Launches India-first Features; Rolls Out Two-wheeler Mode in Maps

Google Maps has started two-wheeler navigation first in India before rolling it out in other countries.


Google Maps has for the first time launched its new feature that supports navigation direction for two-wheelers, beginning in some cities in India. The feature has been started first in India before the technology company rolls it out in other countries.

India is the world’s biggest two-wheeler market, where motorcycles sell seven times more than cars. In China, three passenger cars are sold for every two motorcycles, according to Bloomberg.

“On average, a connected mobile Internet user in India today is consuming over 4GB of data per month. At the current growth rate and given the connectivity environment, we expect this number to reach 11GB per user per month in the next four years and Google is here to help connect all,” Rajan Anandan, Vice President, South East Asia and India at Google, said at the company’s third annual “Google for India” event in New Delhi, IANS reported.

“There are 230 million Indian language users online on Google today and 170 million of them are using our messaging service. Yet, we have over 900 million Indians who aren’t connected to Internet. Our mission is connectivity for every Indian. We’ll stay focused until every single Indian is connected,” Anandan added.

Martha Welsh, Google Maps’ strategic partner development manager, said the company decided to start in India because “it’s important that we get this right.” Welsh said that the feature would have Google Maps showing routes that are conducive for scooters and motorcycles but not cars.

It would also take into account routes that are not permitted to two-wheelers. Commuters will also be shown timings that match their speeds, as bikers can travel faster in traffic jams. The feature was reportedly being requested by people for years.

To access the two-wheeler mode, users would need the latest version of Google Maps on Android – v.9.67.1.

The earlier Google Maps version specified routes for cars, buses (in some cities), trains (in some cities), cabs and pedestrians.

India still relies on two-wheelers more than passenger cars for its travels. In the last five years, 90 percent of the increase in unit sales was from motorbikes, scooters and mopeds in the country.

Google also launched Android Oreo (Go Edition), its lightweight operating system (OS) for smartphones with lower specifications. It is made for phones with 1 GB ram i.e. entry-level Android smartphones.

“Oreo devices with 512MB to 1GB of RAM will get all the optimizations that come with Android Oreo (Go edition), including a better performing OS with built-in data management features and security benefits,” said Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Next Billion Users Team at Google, according to IANS.

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