Google showed off Augmented Reality (AR) infused Google Maps first at I/O 2018 and in February this year, it was said to be under testing in a closed group. The feature enabled users to find directions using AR, identify landmarks and relay more in real time. The feature is finally being rolled out to the company’s Pixel series of phones and will be available for use when one chooses their preferred method of travel as walking to their destination. The update is being rolled out in phases and all is said to be currently available only to select Local Guides and Pixel users globally.
The rollout of the new feature was announced at Google I/O 2019 event and Google Maps’ official Twitter handle later tweeted about the rollout. When using the AR option to navigate, the real world takes up the majority of space on a screen and a small view of the Google map is present on the bottom of their phone’s display. The options shows useful cues like arrows for directions and banners with street names to help a user find their way. While we have yet to test the option, some users on twitter note that the feature is quite useful to find right directions when the GPS is yet to lock on.
The new feature was reportedly quite aggressive in saving the phones’ battery. While using the mode, one should be able to view the world via their camera when they lift their phones up and when they put it down, traditional view of Maps should pop-up. In AR mode, landmarks will also be identified when the user comes across them. There is no information on when the feature will be made available for non-Pixel smartphones. However, if the option is now available for Pixel, it can soon be expected to be made available for other devices as well.