When you're traveling to a new country, region, or even an unfamiliar part of your own town, and hailing a ride, you may be suspicious of the driver taking advantage of your cluelessness to charge you more or for more nefarious reasons. That's why I often keep a tab on the drive in Google Maps when riding a cab while traveling, but I have to repeatedly glance at my phone to notice any awkward routing. Maps recognizes this use case and is now offering to do the work in the background and notify you when your driver goes off the logical path.
To get Maps to track your ride, look for navigation directions to your destination, and tap the Stay safer button in the menu at the bottom. You'll find the off-route alerts there. Enable them then start the navigation.
Your current trip will be tracked, with one important change: a banner on the top that says you'll be alerted if your driver diverts by 500 meters (0.31 miles). This should leave enough room for small adjustments, personal driving preferences, and traffic avoidance, but also let you know if the car goes off-course so you can double-check the current drive. Maybe the re-route makes sense and Maps hadn't seen it as a valid alternative, or maybe something is really wrong — which we all hope is never the case. But at least you'll be alerted and you don't need to stare at your phone for the entire drive to know this.
The alert feature is showing up for users in India. We can't replicate it, but it's possible it's also available in other countries. I definitely want it to become a staple worldwide, as it can be handy regardless of country or region.
Google has officially announced this feature and said it's aimed toward users in India. It also explained what you can do when your taxi deviates from its route, namely, you can easily share your trip with others so they keep a close eye on your movements and react if something is really wrong.
- XDA Developers
- Samarth Verma