Google Maps: Why is Navigation Still Not Showing Speed Limits? Google can release it at any time
with the Google Maps Navigation Each user can be instructed on the optimal way to reach the destination and display some additional important information. The current speedometer has been a part of this for a long time, but unfortunately no logical counterpart is available. Although Google has very good data quality in DA-CH, the speed limit cannot be displayed. but why?
Google Maps navigation is constantly being expanded and new functions are constantly being added, which some user groups may find very practical, but is not necessarily part of the core area of navigation. I’m thinking, for example, of Google Assistant or the various supported media players. Both are barely necessary on a smartphone thanks to the other options, but there seems to be enough space on the surface.
The speedometer was integrated into the Google Maps navigation system three years ago, which each user can view if they wish to use the option in the settings. This shows the current speed based on the GPS location. This isn’t strictly necessary in a car, it can be a lot of fun on a bike and as a pedestrian you won’t need the single digit number. It would be much more important to see the analogy: How fast am I allowed to drive? This can also be convenient for cyclists in meeting areas.
If we were then talking about speed, a way to display the speed limit or speed limit would actually not be far off – but the Google Maps team hasn’t been able to introduce themselves to do that yet. This is the case at least in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A user from a vacation in Italy recently contacted me and reported the displayed speed limits, which is also the reason for this article.
One would think that Google does not have reliable data about the maximum allowed speed and it is better not to show any information to users at all before declaring something wrong. However, this is not the case, because Google says it has high-quality data for many countries – this is mentioned on the always-updated Google Maps AI website. For Germany, Austria, Switzerland and many other European countries, the data quality is rated very good and can be used without any problems.
Google Maps uses data in the background
But why would Google buy this data if it wasn’t used? The purchase can be explained by the fact that the data is being used in the background. Because without this data, route planning and navigation will not be able to estimate how fast the user can get from A to B. Since Google Maps claims to be able to predict arrival time very accurately, you rely on this data. This is only possible if the algorithms know exactly how fast the user is likely to travel on the respective section of the path. Combined with traffic jam data and some red traffic light tolerance pads and Co, you get very accurate values.
Possible reasons not to use
If the data is already available and used internally, it can also be displayed in the user interface. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of the legal situation, but perhaps Google just bought the right to use this data, but not to publish it – if such a planet is possible. If this is the case, the question remains why it works in other countries and why so many navigators can display this information.
The next excuse may be that the interface is too crowded and the user is distracted from the most important information. Well, there are some arguments against that: the music player and plugin. And also display the current speed by speedometer. Hopefully the user can see for themselves how fast they are driving and doesn’t need a second indicator for that. Alternatively, of course, the maximum speed can simply be displayed as an additional number on the speedometer or can be used purely as a warning. As soon as the driver depresses the accelerator pedal hard, the speedometer may turn red and the speed limit appears. There are certainly many possibilities, but this cannot be the reason.
Another assumption could be the legal component. What if Google Maps says you can drive 50 on the road, but you’re actually only allowed 30? No one would consider sending the corresponding fine notice to Google in Mountain View, but as a globally active company, you have to protect yourself in many directions. This could play a small role in why this ad doesn’t exist.
One might reply that the navigation system also wants to send the driver the wrong way on a one-way street – who doesn’t know that? If you’re driving anyway, you should hand over your driver’s license rather than pass the responsibility on to Google. Any navigation tool is just a tool. You should never rely on it, but always take it as a hint or maybe a second check. Did you just see the 70’s sign? If you weren’t sure for a while and then got the confirmation from Google Maps, you can be a little sure – if of course you’re not absolutely sure!
Because this discussion about displaying speed limits in Google Maps has been going on for many years and nothing has happened yet, we will probably have to live with the fact that this information is not available on the Google Map platform for unknown reasons. This probably won’t change anytime soon, because the best thing is to implement something like this with the big spring update – but it’s already done.
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