Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Google Maps AR navigation is now rolling out

Google Maps AR navigation is now rolling out

When the tech giant teased the feature during I/O, Google's Aparna Chennapragada noted that the project's team was "playing with the idea" of adding digital guides. But Google Maps is one of the best map and navigation apps rolled into one, and I can see this feature being tremendously helpful in a foreign city.

All in all, it doesn't look all that different to the demo Google had shown at last year's I/O (guides included).

The feature is mindful of your battery drain; the screen darkens when you hold the phone in front of your face too long, and reverts to traditional map view when you put it down.

Google introduced a new augmented reality (AR) mode for Maps at I/O 2018 and it was one of the biggest crowd-pleasers at the keynote previous year. Combining the camera to Maps will make finding locations easier.

The option to use AR is via a "Start AR" button in the Map app main screen.

Are you looking forward to using AR with Google Maps? The real-time feature is however not meant to be on at all times, as it drains battery and the app even reminds the user to turn the feature off once it knows where to go.

The Journal said that while the AR version of Maps is being tested by a small, select group, the feature isn't going to see an official release anytime soon. The first is that a big advantage of the feature is that it provides people with very specific location data, and that it's a feature that isn't likely to remain on phones, but on AR-capable glasses. After it has done this, it then creates directions for the user based on the location.

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".

Instead, a new version of Maps would use Google Lens to show you on-screen which way to go, as well as insert a playful assistant, in this case a fox, to help guide you on your way.

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