Originally the feature was only available in limited locations in the US. But Google announced in August that it was extending the availability of the 'Parking Difficulty' icon to 25 cities outside of the US.
Aside from Cologne and Düsseldorf, residents of Munich, Stuttgart and Darmstadt will be happy to hear that their cities are also among this list of new international locations.
Using methods of calculation similar to the 'Popular Times' and 'Visit Duration' features, Google Maps uses historical parking data with a little 'machine learning magic' to predict how difficult it is going to be for you to find a parking space.
The level of difficulty is indicated on a scale ranging from 'easy' to 'limited', meaning drivers can now use the feature not only for directions, but also to prepare for finding a parking space once they arrive.
The parking icon also has the potential to benefit the environment. During the testing phase of the feature, there was a significant rise in clicks on the 'Public Transport' journey planner option as users became aware of how difficult it would be to park, the RP reports.
With less people choosing to drive if they know they will not be able to park, this may lead to reduced congestion in the future. The 'Parking Difficulty' feature was released just a few days ago, so make sure to update the app on your phone, if you haven't already.