Google Maps AR Navigation Testing Begins, Coming to Select Users Soon

Doris Richards
February 11, 2019

For now, it looks like only Local Guides, or community reviewers, have access to the feature.

Although the Google Maps AR feature was announced halfway through 2018, it has not yet arrived on any consumer devices, but The Wall Street Journal has been able to test out an early version of it. Describing his experience, he wrote, "It was as if Maps had drawn my directions onto the real world, though nobody else could see them".

When you search for a place in Google Maps, along with regular "Directions" button, you will have the new "Start AR" button to access the new experience.


"While it isn't likely to be your primary turn-by-turn option, it's a huge step in the right direction for Google Maps", Pierce said. The feature overlays arrows, landmarks, maps, and possibly even an animated creature to show the way in a camera view that is displaying the actual environment around the users. The key point here is that, using AR, it will better know which way you are looking, without having to rely on the often hit and miss compass. This could be for safety reasons: If your smartphone is in AR mode for a long time, it will make your screen darker and you won't focus on obstacles ahead. The AR system asks the user to move his/her phone around to determine the exact location. To use it, you lift the phone in front of your eyes and the software gives you directions via arrows which show where you need to go. The system too reportedly warns users against this.

While the feature still relies on Global Positioning System to find out where you are, it uses Street View data to pinpoint your location.

The current version of the AR feature requires users to hold the camera up and point to a few nearby points, at which stage Pierce noted that it only took "a few seconds" to realize where it was "with remarkable precision".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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