Google’s New AR Feature for Maps Coming to Pixel Phones First
During last year’s I/O developer conference, Google promised to introduce AR in Google Maps and it has finally made good on that promise. The new augmented reality walking directions feature for Google Maps will enable users to directly display directions on their immediate real-world surroundings simply by using their smartphone cameras.
Google Maps meets AR.
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) May 7, 2019
The augmented reality feature was already available on some of the Local Guides and will now hit the Google’s Pixel smartphones. Google has yet to reveal when it plans to roll out the AR feature on Android and iOS devices. The first device that will include the functionality is Google’s recently unveiled Pixel 3A along with older Pixel phones such as the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL. The augmented reality walking directions for Maps goes live on Tuesday next week.
The augmented reality walking directions feature works just as had earlier been revealed. When someone is lost, they can simply hold up their phone which opens the camera and overlays the directions on top of the user’s real-world surroundings.
Before today, Google had already provided limited trials of the AR walking directions in the Google Maps. This is the first time that it has launched a full preview of the app. The feature will provide users with a real-time navigation based on the phone’s camera. Users will hold up the camera and see the arrows and the directions overlaid on their surroundings. The feature is available on Pixel 3A along with the older Pixel phones.
The AR feature is not designed to be your primary navigational tool. However, if you are lost in a city or a street somewhere, it could get you oriented and find your way.
The Google Maps AR feature was developed for walking directions. Users can set the destination and then tap on “Start AR” to activate its augmented reality features. The Maps will subsequently use a Pixel camera to determine the location of the user and then show the arrows and directions that will guide the user to their destination. The AR directions use the Google Maps Street View so it will only function on the outdoor areas that have recently been catalogued.
As a navigation tool, it has limited scope but it can prove useful in helping you orientate yourself if you are lost in a new area. The tool can even help you pay more attention to your location when you are tracking your directions with Google Maps. The AR tool makes figuring out walking directions a lot easier as it overlays the details right in front of you. Google Maps can be challenging when used for walking directions as your eyes have to be fixated on the screen when reading maps. With the AR walking directions feature, on-foot navigation becomes a seamless affair.