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Google Maps uses landmarks to provide natural-sounding directions

'Turn right at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.'
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Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Most navigation apps give you instructions based on streets or distance. But that's not really how humans provide directions -- they'll usually point to landmarks that are much easier to spot than a tiny street sign. And Google, apparently, knows this. Users are reporting that Google Maps has started offering directions based on local landmarks. Instead of "turn right at Main Street," it'll tell you to "turn right after Burger King."

It's not certain just what points of interest Google will use for directions, the regional availability (beyond New York City, at least) or the scale of the introduction. We've asked Google if it can shed some light on the situation. If this is more than a small-scale test, though, it could take a lot of the stress out of driving through an unfamiliar town.

Update: We're told that highlighting landmarks is just one method that's in testing to make guidance better, but there's no word on when/if it may roll out widely.

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