Google Maps may start guiding you towards well-lit routes instead of dark alleys

google assistant
(Image credit: AngieYeoh /

Google Maps is a near-essential app for getting from place to place, and millions of users rely on it every day. The app continues to gain new options, and now it seems that Google is working on a feature that will make it safer for people travelling at night.

Night-time travel can be nerve-wracking, particularly if you are on foot. If you in a familiar place, you probably know the best streets to get you from A to B, but if you're in a new town, walking on dark street can be unsettling. A teardown of the Google Maps v10.31.0 beta shows that the Android version of the app could soon get a new map layer that with indicate streets with good lighting.

Details of the discovery were shared by XDA Developers, and while it's not known when the feature will launch (or even that it definitely will), a glimpse at the app's source code reveals numerous tantalizing references to the as-yet unseen Lighting layer.

Step into the light

The code refers to a "safety layer" labelled Lighting, and explanatory notes that says the layer will enables users to "See how brightly lit the streets are".  Additional strings of code read: "Yellow lines show streets with good lighting", "Poor to no lighting" and " No lighting info available".

It's impossible to tell not only if the feature is certain to see the light of day, but also whether it will see a global release rather than being limited to a few countries. If and when it does appear, though, it's something that's sure to be well-received by dog-walkers, runners and cyclists.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

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