Google's augmented reality Maps are live for some users

Yolanda Curtis
February 11, 2019

Engadget reports that Google Maps AR navigation is going to be rolling out to Local Guides first - i.e., those people who like to write reviews and submit them to Google Maps - and that the system still needs some testing before it will hit universal availability. 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.

That said, it looks like it won't be taking over as the standard method of using Google Maps.

To solve this, at Google's 2018 IO developer conference, the tech giant announced a new feature it is planning to introduce to address this glitch. In the meantime, Maps users will have to make do with the traditional map view. This primarily means that Google Maps combines Street View and data from Maps using smartphone's camera for easier and better navigation. Go to 9:41 in the video below to see the feature in action.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the feature is being tested by a small group of beta users before it'll get rolled out to global users of the application.

Google hasn't given any indication of a date as to when this feature will become widely available, and Pierce notes that it will arrive "only when Google is satisfied that it's ready".

The WSJ's David Pierce notes that the feature will likely end up on the AR glasses that many companies are now either working on or selling.

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. "For You" tab helps users access new places, popular locations, personal recommendations, and trending now places in and around your neighbourhood. After it has done this, it then creates directions for the user based on the location. Later this year, his voice will come to the Google Assistant.

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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