After several months of the debut, finally, Google Maps' augmented reality navigation is rolling out for selective users. Locations on Google Maps are soon expected to show up a new “Start AR” button which kicks in the AR mode Google showed off back at I/O 2018.
First announced at the I/O developer conference in 2018, Google Maps’ AR navigation feature aims to provide more accurate directions by mixing AR with computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI). The new feature showed how, in the future, phones could orient users using the cameras. The demo showed an advanced navigation system that could direct users and use pop-ups showing businesses and shops nearby as well. An energetic fox guide in the new maps was an added bonus.
However, the new feature is not too different from the previous one Google previewed for developers in May 2018; the Maps could be seen on the lower half of the screen while the top half-navigates the real-world surroundings of the user. With some small modifications, the blinking arrow system, which used to direct users to turn, is quite similar to the ones from Google’s earlier presentation.
In Google Maps, locations will feature a new “Start AR” button - alongside the traditional “Directions”. Most of the screen is a live camera view, but the bottom third is a circular window that shows a traditional overhead map view with your route. Similar to ARCore-powered experiences and Lens, users first have to move their phone around so that the camera can recognize objects with colorful dots denoting recognition progress. Everything from floating place markers to arrows and pins is animated whimsically and in a comically large fashion to get your attention.
The Wall Street Journal got to preview the new experience, and according to the publication, you can simply open up Maps, hit the Start AR button, and Google Maps will guide you using the new system. The system first asks you to move your phone around so it can determine exactly where you are, and then provide directions based on that. You can simply hold your phone up and Google Maps will give you actual directions in the real world, and the idea is pretty cool for sure.
The company has not officially announced when the AR feature will out to all Google Maps users, this will only happen when the company is sure that the feature is ready.
Google Maps’ new AR-powered navigation is going to be a really important step forward for navigation once the feature is actually rolled out to everyone.
Stock photo from BigTunaOnline