A Google Maps feature? Is that actually newsworthy? Well, yes, actually, and here's why:

Given that people worldwide are already hyper-connected to the company's services, any new feature being rolled out by Google has the potential to be a big deal. Depending on where you get your statistics:

Basically, anytime Google makes a change to one of its many apps or services, it has the potential to affect a lot of what we do -- from how we plan our day or week (Google calendar), to how we achieve SEO (Adwords), to how we stay in touch (Gmail).

A familiar feature

Thanks to a new feature on its Maps web service, Google can also affect whether or not you get up from your PC in time to make it to your next appointment or meeting. The feature, called "Time to Leave," has actually been around on mobile for a while, though it's been less than perfectly reliable. 

Now, you can enable it for your computer's browser as well, by toggling the feature "On" in the "Notifications" sidebar of Google Maps. When that's done, you'll get a notification from your computer when it's time for you to leave for any regular or scheduled route. When it pops up, you'll also get a shortcut link to the step-by-step directions of the route. 

But Tom, this feature's already on mobile, so what's the big deal? 

That is correct, astute reader. However, there are a few things to consider here that are easy to overlook.

First, it's easier to use Maps on the web than on mobile, so having it's best features available for PC just seems logical. It's the little things. Kudos to Google for noticing.

Second, if you're at home, you might be more likely to notice a PC notification than one on your smartphone (unless you have an Apple Watch), especially if you're someone who turns down your smartphone's volume at home, puts it on airplane mode to charge (seriously, it's way faster), or just tends to leave it places and forget where, exactly. 

Third, consumers expect cross-platform compatibility -- and sometimes don't even realize it. If you've ever been late to a meeting, then it's easy to appreciate a valuable feature that proactively gives you peace of mind. Google has our back -- and for that, we thank them.  

If you want to take advantage, just make sure you're signed into Google, so it can access your calendar and your location. 

So, the good news: you're now covered, cross-platform  (thanks, Google)

The bad news: you 'll really have a good excuse to be late now -- 'traffic' isn't going to cut it anymore (blame Google)

Published on: Jul 19, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.