Smartphones make it impossible to lose your phone, but now Google is looking to ensure you can’t lose something considerably bigger: your car. The feature, which has been rolled out in the v9.49 Google Maps Beta, will allow people to not only track their vehicle’s location but also how long they’ve parked, to avoid any pesky parking fines and keep traffic wardens on their toes.
Google’s parking update gives users the option to enter parking data in a form-style format rather than the pins Apple went for with iOS 10. However, this does mean that more data can be added to each parking entry including photos (in case you somehow manage to forget what your car looks like), and notes (to make notes such as “don’t drive off without the shopping or the baby”).
At the moment, Google’s parking tracking is designed for urban environments so it may not work quite as well if you leave your car in a field, a desert or anywhere more obscure. But those heading away and leaving their car at an airport or in a city-centre car park, where people are likely to be overwhelmed by a maze of automobiles, will likely find it a lot more useful.
Google seems to see finding lost cars as a real pain-point for forgetful humans, given Google Now already provides a service to track your car – although that has encountered problems such as believing you’ve parked when in fact you’ve only gotten off the bus or left a taxi.
Google is yet to make an official announcement about parking tracking, or where it will roll out to.