Traffic lights arrive on Google Maps: how they work

A new feature arrives on the Google Maps version for Android: it will also indicate the presence of traffic lights on the map. Here's how to activate it

A year ago Apple had launched the novelty, introducing traffic lights in Apple Maps with the iOS 13 update. Since then, Google Maps has also been working to introduce the new feature in its app, to only the Android version. The first tests by Google have already started, so much so that some users may find themselves seeing traffic lights during their location searches.

Knowing where a traffic light or stop sign is located provides drivers with important information to get to their destination. Apple understood this and so when they released the new version a year ago they added this important indication. A potential for user experience really important and to be explored. So much so that Google Maps has run for cover and is now preparing to release an update that would allow you to see both small traffic lights and stop signs, just like the rival app.

Semaphores on Google: the first signals

To notice this important new feature was a user who reported the appearance of a traffic light at an intersection while he was using Google Maps to reach his intended destination. The icon seems to be placed there anonymously and it's not even easy to see, plus Google doesn't report its presence as "new".

The user explained that by zooming in on the map, the traffic light icon gets bigger, but in Google's list of instructions, it still doesn't appear at the intersection. If it follows the features introduced by Apple Maps, the traffic light could make its way right into the instructions, with the voice assistant reminding you to "turn right at a green light."

For experts, that traffic light icon, however, represents just a starting point for a new map navigation and exploration experience with Google Maps. However, the ability to use new landmarks when on the road, especially suggested by the voice assistant, is a convenience for the driver who may be struggling at an intersection.

Google Maps, how to get the new feature

There will be those who reading these improvements, will be able not to think back to the first versions of Google Maps, when entering a traffic circle, the Google voice assistant advised you to literally exit at the "1-a" or "3-a" exit, rather than pronouncing the "first" or "third" exit, generating no little confusion.

The new feature with traffic lights is only present on version 10.44.3 of Google Maps for Android. The release is server-side, so it is not said that updating the app will automatically activate it. To have it on your smartphone you'll have to wait a few more days.