There are a lot of people in the world who ride motorcycles, especially in more crowded areas where cars don't fit especially well. India is one of those places, and many users there are now noticing a 'motorcycle mode' showing up in their Maps alongside car, train, and walking options.
We've known something like this was coming for some time now thanks to our teardowns. v9.61, v9.62, and v9.66 all contained strings relating to some sort of two-wheeler or motorcycle mode, and this seems to be the final culmination of that. One reader let us know that this showed up for him in v9.67.1, which is the most recent version out. As you can tell from the screenshots, motorcycle mode has the same goal as any other mode: to find the best, most efficient route possible given the type of transportation. Since motorcycles can fit in places that cars must go around, you'll note that estimated travel times are quicker, sometimes significantly so.
The feature notes road closures on the way and the parking status at the destination, both of which are definitely handy. So far, we've only gotten tips from readers in India, and it does makes sense that Google would choose to launch this there first. After all, the US isn't nearly as crowded, and almost all streets that can fit a motorcycle can also fit a car. It might be handy in other parts of Europe and Asia, though. We'll have to wait and see if the functionality pops up anywhere else.
It turns out that this is part of Google's 'Google for India' initiative. The blog post released today confirms that 'two-wheeler mode' will be rolling out to other countries soon.
Google says Motorcycle mode in Maps is now available in Egypt and expanding to Algeria and Tunisia next, with more countries to follow.
Beside India, this feature already launched in most of South Asia last year, and has thus been available in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam too.