Google has officially launched its map feature for informal transit in Lagos, Nigeria. This feature can be thought of as a map feature for the routes taken by commercial buses popularly called Danfo or Molue.
This new map feature launches to make the commute more relatable for Nigerians.
At the most recent Google for Nigeria event where a “Nigerian voice” feature was unveiled for its maps, Google announced it was bringing an informal route feature to its Google Maps product. And apparently, it’s finally here.
The informal route feature is already live in Lagos on the latest version of Google Maps for Android. It can be accessed by tapping a bus icon labeled ‘traffic’ and located at the bottom of the map page.
The new feature allows users to view estimated fares, quick shortcuts and routes, information on current traffic, and weather conditions. There are also 360-degree pictures of landmarks, bus stops and popular places along the route. The pictures can be interacted with through a number of actions including zooming, pinching, and rotating.
This new development follows years of protracted complaints from users about how difficult it is to follow bus directions and other informal routes on Google Maps, especially in Nigeria’s commercial nerve, Lagos State.
According to Google, the feature was put together with help from Google guides and a Nigerian AI startup known as Road Preppers.
Road Preppers uses AI and machine learning to provide commuters with public transportation directions and other information.
At today’s launching event in Lagos, Senior Product Manager at Google in charge of Google Maps, Jeff Albertson, acknowledged the contribution of Road Preppers while stating that the feature is currently only available on Android, though it will eventually reach other platforms.
There were also talks of rolling out the same feature to a few other Nigerian cities like Abuja and Ibadan, as well as other African cities.
Featured Image Courtesy: Quartz