Google Pilots Google Maps AR Navigation

Google Pilots Google Maps AR Navigation
Selected users can see directions superimposed on the view from their smartphone's camera.

(CCM) — Google has begun trying out a new augmented reality feature in Google Maps which provides directions to users as they look at their environment through their smartphones' cameras, according to a report in The Verge.

The new feature uses GPS to find a person's approximate location, and then matches Google Street View data with the image displayed by the smartphone's camera on the screen to pinpoint the exact location. It can then provide directions to the user by superimposing large arrows on the street scene. "It was as if Maps had drawn my direction onto the real world, though nobody else could see them," said early user David Pierce of the Wall Street Journal.

Google has experimented with different ways of providing directions, including a line on the ground, and animated instructions. But after finding that users follow a line to closely and watch the screen too much when it has animations, it is trying the arrows. This could change again in the future, however.

The app only allows users to view AR directions through the camera for brief periods, encouraging users to switch to the regular Google Maps view for most of the time.

This could be for safety reasons, to reduce the likelihood of crossing a road without checking for traffic first.

The new AR feature will be released more generally "only when Google is satisfied that it's ready," according to a company spokesperson.

Image: © rvlsoft –