Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Google Maps AR navigation feature testing begins in U.S. for select users

Google Maps AR navigation feature testing begins in U.S. for select users

The app then brings up 3D arrows to show clearly which direction you should be walking. On top of that, your battery would drain really fast, so it's probably best to use the AR navigation feature in shorter intervals.

The video shows the user holding up his phone while in Google Maps and the camera scanning what it sees in front of the phone. The company originally introduced the AR navigation feature at a developers conference previous year.

Last year, Google I/O gave us a glimpse of what augmented reality in Maps might look like, teasing a future in which our phones orient us using our cameras.

Locations compatible with the new feature will have a new "Start AR" button alongside the standard "Directions".

At the tech giant's 2018 IO developer conference, Google announced a new feature it was working on for its navigation app that uses a combination of AI, AR and your phone's camera to help with the real-time wayfinding process.

It looks like the Wall Street Journal was able to demo what it said is "an early version" of Maps with AR. 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.

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No dates have been set for making it widely available to Map users.

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.

If the user has asked for directions, big arrows showing the user the direction to walk in is overlaid on the buildings on screen.

Google's now testing the feature with select Local Guides in Maps, with no set date for a larger public release. Even though Google Maps and other navigation apps make it incredibly easy to get somewhere, it's still incredibly hard to find out exactly where you are going, especially in new cities.

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.

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