Google Maps Adds Walking Directions

Starting today, July 22, 2008, you can tell Google Maps that you want walking directions, and Google will try to find you a route that's direct, flat, and uses pedestrian pathways when we know about them, says the Google Lat Long blog. Just get directions as you normally would, for distances of 10 km or less.

As is usual for a "perpetual beta," there are some refinements Google wants to make. Right now, walking directions work well for short trips in urban areas, but Google says it does not presently always know if a street has a sidewalk, or if there's actually a special pedestrian bridge for crossing a busy street. Or for those of you navigating certain parts of Chicago's downtown loop, whether there are elevated roadways in your path that have to be navigated.

Google says it is working on ways to improve those sorts of features. Very useful, though, for those of you who travel and will be walking to a destination instead of driving.
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