Google Maps' AR navigation feature arriving soon for some users

Judy Cobb
February 11, 2019

Now reports suggest that the company is testing the feature with a small group of Local Guides. It's like Street View for navigation.

All in all, it doesn't look all that different to the demo Google had shown at last year's I/O (guides included).

While navigation by way of Google Maps is, for the most part, a smooth process for pedestrians, there's usually an awkward moment of failed orientation when you first start the feature and try and line yourself up with the little blue dot. The app may in future use a combination of AI and AR technologies, combined with your phone's camera to aid in real-time location tracking.

At Google I/O 2018, we had a first look at Google Maps AR features.

No dates have been set for making it widely available to Map users. The Maps app has a dedicated button that switches on the AR mode that opens up the camera, and starts analysing your surroundings using Street View data. Go to 9:41 in the video below to see the feature in action.

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The company showed this upcoming AR feature at its annual developer conference Google I/O in 2018.

If you move the camera, information about new landmarks such as cafes and supermarkets can pop up, with the ratings that Map users are familiar with. After it has done this, it then creates directions for the user based on the location. Although the version the WSJ tested isn't final, it helps us get a better idea of what's coming up.

Google is rolling out a tool called "Your Match", which uses machine learning to determine your location and interests, serving up targeted suggestions for new businesses opening up in your area and more. Even though Google Maps and other navigation apps make it incredibly easy to get somewhere, it's still incredibly hard to find out exactly where you are going, especially in new cities.

And Google could soon roll out a new version of maps that addresses an age-old issue where you're unable to figure out which way is North or South.

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