Google announced a new feature in Google Maps, letting you view the walking directions. And as Andy Schwerin puts, it makes me want to stroll through the city a little bit as well: “You’ll notice shops, parks, and public art that you’ve been accustomed to zooming past, and come away feeling like you’ve really gotten the insider’s take on a neighborhood or city. Of course, don’t get too caught up in enjoying the sights! Please be careful, and be particularly attentive in high traffic areas.”
Simply type in the directions as you are used to and if the route is shorter then 10km, Google will offer a option to show Walking directions on the left of the screen. Don’t walk blind on the new feature’s directions yet, the beta service doesn’t know all the sidewalks yet, and is not intelligent enough to see a pedestrian bridge for crossing a busy street. Google doesn’t know all pedestrian pathways yet, and is collecting new data to find more effective ways to get to where you need to be.
Google seems to be the only mapping service that offers walking directions for now. Although we have seen Google Maps mashups for jogging purposes before, allowing to manually create, share and discuss jogging routes. I hope Google will implement a sportive function as well. For now, the feature will prove very useful on mobile devices for quick navigation purposes.