Google gets a lot of flak when it comes to privacy and monopolistic practices but it remains unchallenged because of the almost indispensable services and products it provides. Google Maps has long changed the way we get around places, both locally and abroad, while Google Translate grows more accurate and helpful every year. Now Google is bringing these two products closer together to save you from the most harrowing travel experience: trying to get around a foreign country.
Traveling in a country that doesn’t speak your native tongue can be both an educational experience as well as a stressful one. Not much of a problem when traveling with a guide or a local but when you’re alone or with a group that doesn’t speak the local language, it can be very difficult. Google Translate has long been trying to break down language barriers and now it’s doing the same for traveling.
With the new integration between Maps and Translate, you will see a speaker icon right next to the name of a place in Google Maps. Tapping that will bring up the place’s translation, both written and verbal. This makes it easier to communicate with drivers or even when just asking for directions. There’s even a quick button to take you from Maps directly into Google Translate.
One of the nice conveniences this integration has is that you won’t have to manually set the language to translate to. The two are smart enough to deduce your phone’s system language and the country you’re searching in Maps to make it as painless as possible.
The update will be rolling out to Android and iOS users starting this month so it might take a while before everyone is on the same footing. The initial rollout will cover only 50 languages but Google promises that more will come in due time.