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Google Search now knows where you parked, might sound cooler than it really is

Today Google Search is rolling out a new update that introduces several new features, including a Parking Location card that is designed to keep tabs on where you parked.
April 30, 2014

Earlier today, Google kicked off Update Wednesday by bringing separate apps for Docs, Sheets and Slides to the Google Play store. That’s not the only change heading our way, however, as a new version of the Google Search app is also rolling out.

Dubbed version 3.4, the update adds a few new features to the mix, such as a new reminders interface with better arrangement of past reminders, a centralized list for nicknames under Accounts & Privacy and new Parking Location card.

The new Parking Location card is arguably the biggest new feature in this update, but what does it do exactly? In short, Google can now tell when you’ve parked your car and can then save this location as a handy card. When it is time to find your automobile, you go into Google Search, hit the card and it can navigate you there using Google Maps.

The new Parking Location card is the kind of feature that sounds better than it is in reality

For someone who is easily lost in his own backyard, this potentially sounds amazing. Sure, there are already apps that do the same thing, but this is an automatic feature directly from Google. Unfortunately, it’s also the kind of feature that sounds better than it is in reality.

Google Search Parking Location: a hit and miss experience

Because I’m the inquisitive type (with admittedly no life…), I spent a fair amount of time driving to a few different locations in order to put this feature through its paces. The result was hit and miss at best, though your mileage may vary. For one thing, the card doesn’t seem to instantly update the second you stop moving, and often it would take ten to fifteen minutes for the Park card to show my new location. Of course most the time that you need help finding your car, you’ve been parked for hours or more — so this probably isn’t a real issue.

Accuracy can be a problem, though. In my personal tests I found that while it can bring you in the base direction that your car is located, it only comes close to getting you where you need to be. While it’s accuracy is probably good enough to help you figure out what street you parked on in a busy downtown area or maybe even point you in the right direction when you’re in a massive mall parking lot, it’s not quite good enough to direct you right to your automobile’s door. That said, this is a free feature and a new one, so we can only expect so much.

Overall, this is a welcome change and something that will only get better with time. To check the update out for yourself you can grab the APK here, or you can try to see if the update has already arrived to you directly through Google Play. Anyone else have the opportunity to mess around with the Park card and other new changes in today’s update? If so, what do you think so far?

Update: Talking to others on Google+ and elsewhere, it seems that location accuracy is quite good for some. Bottom-line, it doesn’t hurt to mess around and see how it works for you.