Google Maps now lets you find fresh air

Google Maps already boasts a wealth of useful features for users. Besides showing people where they are, it plans routes, provides real-time spoken directions, street views, traffic and footfall information, restaurant reviews and a whole lot more. Google has just unveiled its latest tool. Users can now click on its Air Quality Index (AQI) before heading out for a bike ride, picnic, camping trip or hike. Google's products blog stated: "When you're visiting a new place or planning outdoor activities, it can be helpful to know the air quality conditions – like whether it's unusually smoggy." It added that its new AQI is, "a measure of how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is, along with guidance for outdoor activities."

The new feature is a "layer" on Google Maps. To view it, users tap on the "Layers" icon in the top right corner of the screen. This is the same button for selecting the satellite or street view modes. Users will see the new option to see air quality information on their map. Google said: "We collaborate closely with partners in the weather and air quality space to surface helpful and authoritative information when you need it most.…We hope these tools help you feel safe and informed so you can enjoy the summer." The AQI will also provide updated information on the health impact of the air quality. In addition, there is a "wildfires near me" feature to alert, update and advise people on the status of fires.