Have you ever been confused by the Directions on Google Maps, taking a wrong turn at the last minute because you couldn’t quite figure it out? Google Maps has finally launched a cutting-edge new feature that will solve this common and sometimes exasperating issue.
The Live View Maps AR feature uses Augmented Reality to help users better understand where to go. The Live View overlays arrows and directions in the real world outside, allowing you to understand exactly how to navigate the confusing turns or where to start your walking journey.
In March 2019, Google released the alpha version of this Live View feature — limiting its use to Google Maps local guides and Pixel users. In August, however, it released the beta version and decided to extend the use of this feature to all users.
The way Google Maps Live View works is fairly straightforward. To use Live View, you need to choose the destination in Google Maps as per usual and then tap the Directions button. After this, you need to choose the walking tab because as of now Live View is only available for walking navigation. Next to the start button, you can see the Live View button— you need to press the button and begin the on boarding process.
Of course, the Live View feature doesn’t mean that you have to keep the phone in front of you as you keep walking. It is designed specifically for navigating complex turns and directions that ordinary Maps and Compass confuse sometimes. Live View uses a combination of GPS, Camera, and Compass data to know exactly where you need to go. All you need to do is to point your phone at your surroundings so that the technology can recognize them. It then provides arrows along with street markers overlaid on the actual scene you’re looking at. This makes it completely seamless to find your way in settings that are unfamiliar, and where regular Google Maps just doesn’t cut it.
The Live View feature is now available in its beta version for both Android and iOS devices that support ARCore and ARKit. It’s important to note that Live View works wherever Google Street View is available. What’s more, this feature is currently only for walking navigation. Having said that, there are some car manufacturers that have already implemented AR navigation in their vehicles so it’s very likely that Google will soon extend this feature to the driving navigation as well.
Given that Live View works wherever Google Street View is available, this will eventually have a significant impact on the way businesses build their Google 360 virtual tours. We can now expect virtual tours to also have that added element of Augmented Reality which would make the tours even more effective and immersive than ever before.
The bottom line
The Live View feature hasn’t been around for too long but it has already created quite a stir among users. It’s use of Augmented Reality to give people a far more immersive and effective navigation experience has been appreciated in a big way. That’s not all of course. This AR-powered feature is likely to have ripple effects in a number of different areas, especially Google virtual tours. So if you’re looking to build a brand new virtual tour, or revamp your existing one, Augmented Reality is an opportunity that’s definitely worth exploring.