Major changes to popular maps app

Changes are coming to the way Australians use Google Maps. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

Australians living in the country’s two biggest cities will soon be encouraged to take public transport or walk in favour of driving in a major green overhaul to Google Maps.

Meanwhile, drivers across Australia will now be shown the most fuel-efficient route, and electric vehicle drivers will be able to search for nearby charging stations.

It’s part of a suite of new features announced to commemorate Earth Day, with fuel-efficient routes now showing in the app.

The tech giant said the changes were designed to encourage drivers to make sustainable transportation decisions.

Changes to Google Maps coming to the app.
Google Maps now shows the most fuel-efficient routes.
Changes to Google Maps coming to the app.
Drivers can now see how much petrol a car saves compared with alternative routes.

The fuel efficiency tool will use artificial intelligence to find routes that use the least amount of petrol or electricity, with users able to specify whether they are driving a petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric vehicle to help the app make the calculation.

Users in Sydney and Melbourne will in coming weeks be prompted to travel via public transport or on foot, with the app to soon begin offering suggestions of such routes if travel times are similar or better than driving.

Another new feature is set to be rolled out that shows alternative walking or public transport routes. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Swift

Google Maps group product manager James Byers said the feature would roll out in “the coming weeks” across 15 cities around the world, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Melbourne, Montreal, Paris, Rome and Sydney.

The app is also expanding a feature that will allow users to search for information on long-distance train routes across the country.

Google’s update comes after Apple added details of electric vehicle charging stations to its maps app in 2022.