Ok, so it’s not exactly a banner news day but at least this update has some practical value. Here’s what happens. Google maps will now show a main route when you request directions but will also show available alternate routes for you to consider. They appear under a suggested routes option that you can move between to get the details on the trip. It’s actually pretty cool.
Below is the example given on the LatLong blog
So how do they do it?
For those curious about what’s happening behind the scenes, here are some slightly technical details. Deciding which route is “best” involves balancing competing factors: distance, travel time, number of turns, and many more. We boil all these factors down to a “cost” associated with each candidate route and display the route with the lowest “cost.” But we don’t know about all of your personal preferences, some of which can mean a higher cost route is better for you. Now you can compare and choose!
One final tip: when you’re evaluating routes, check to see if the traffic layer is available in your area so you can see either the live conditions or the predicted conditions for when you’re traveling, helping you make a smart decision about the best route for you.
So yes this is a pretty slow news day but at least now you can figure out the best ways to get out of town for a few days to forget about the Internet for a while.