Last year at Google I/O, Google previewed a new navigation system within Google Maps that uses AR to guide you to places. The company first talked about the new experience back in May 2018, and it’s finally started to test the system with real users, starting with a small group of Local Guides.
The new navigation system uses your camera to provide directions using augmented reality. WSJ got to preview the new experience, and according to the publication, you can simply open up Maps, hit the Start AR button, and Google Maps will guide you using the new system. The system first asks you to move your phone around so it can determine exactly where you are, and then provide directions based on that. You can simply hold your phone up and Google Maps will give you actual directions in the real world, and the idea is pretty cool for sure.
But of course, looking at your phone while you are walking around is not the safest idea. And so this new experience actually warns you to put your phone down, and only check the directions momentarily. The idea is that you will simply put your phone up when you need to see which turn to take, and then put your phone down till you get to the next step. This way, the feature also helps save your phone’s battery as the experience simply switches to the regular map interface when you put your phone down.
Google Maps’ new AR-powered navigation is going to be a really important step forward for navigation once the feature is actually rolled out to everyone. 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. And this new AR-powered navigation seems really promising at tackling that.