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Last year we got word that Google Maps was copying an important feature from Waze — calculating how much tolls along a particular route would cost. Now, nearly 12 months on, the feature is finally rolling out.
Google officially announced the news in April, promising it would start rolling out that month. Now, a little behind schedule, it actually seems to be happening, as revealed by Google in a blog post (opens in new tab).
It looks to be a useful feature. Rather than simply warning you that a route has tolls, and giving you the option to avoid them all, it will use information provided by toll providers to give you a rough idea of how much you'll pay. It'll take into account the day and time you’ll be traveling, and whether or not you have a toll pass, then display that on the route preview screen.
Though Google Maps specifically uses the phrase “estimated toll prices” in the blog post, the fact that the costs are provided by the toll providers indicates they should be pretty accurate.
It’s likely Google is covering its back just in case a mistake happens, or prices change without warning. At the very least, Google’s data-driven approach should be more consistently accurate than the crowd-sourced system employed by Waze. People tend to be less consistent than machines, after all.
Google Maps will still let you avoid tolls every single time you drive, if you’d prefer. You can set up this up in the settings menu, by tapping the three dots in the top-right corner, selecting Route Options and making sure Avoid Tolls has been switched on.
Toll pricing is set to be available on iOS and Android devices in the U.S., India, Japan and Indonesia. Google promises that more countries will be “coming soon,” but there’s no information on which countries might arrive — or when.
The addition of this new feature further helps narrow the gap between Google Maps and Waze. If you're trying to choose between the two apps, our Google Maps vs. Waze face-off should help you decide.