To ensure that Maps will become more indispensable for users, Google is purportedly poised to unleash a new feature that will allow users to identify open parking spots. This will be the case at least based on a functionality that is purportedly getting rolled out in the app's 9.44 beta build.
Google Maps And Parking Availability
According to Android Police, which first spotted the change, the new feature will inform users of the availability of parking spaces. It will also provide more details such as whether a destination has easy, medium, or limited parking slots.
It is important to note that the feature is only available in select areas. While the beta app is available to users in Paris, for instance, the parking availability feature will simply not work in the city. Some sources, however, reported that it is working in some locations in Maryland but is confined to public spaces like airports and shopping malls.
You can give it a try by downloading the beta app at APK Mirror.
Google Parking Estimate
At this point, it is not yet clear how the parking feature works or where Google is drawing its data to provide the service. Some sources, however, believe that Google gets its insights from the user's location data, along with contextual information such as traffic conditions between the user's location and the destination to predict parking availability.
Google could also turn to its own technologies such as the Flow Transport Coordination Platform to leverage data analytics.
Also, based on insights offered by the user experiences at this stage, it appears that Google is providing more general parking information. At the outset, you will be provided an estimate how a destination "usually" has easy, medium, or limited parking labels. More detailed information will only filter in as you drive toward a destination as the app begins to provide more descriptive text.
It is important to remember, however, that similar features have popped up in other navigation app such as Waze, which teamed up with Inrix to provide the feature as early as September of last year.
Accurate Parking Prediction
Interestingly, Waze can already find its users an open parking slot. However, since Google also owns Waze, it could also tap Inrix's technology or simply introduce similar system to power its Maps' parking feature.
A closer look at Inrix will reveal how it is able to successfully determine available parking spaces. The company collects and analyzes road traffic information and they serve as the bases in the way its technology can predict parking spots in a given block. They complement pricing data available for cities and parking facilities.
The aggregated information can purportedly allow Inrix to determine not just available parking slots but also how much you need to pay for their use.