Back at the I/O 2018, Google introduced two new features: the augmented reality (AR) mode for Google Maps and Google Duplex.
While the latter is still under development, the AR mode for Maps has already rolled out for some users that will test the initial version.
At the I/O, Google showed how the arrows, landmarks and maps, and even an animated creature would show up in AR mode while it also displays the real environment. The feature is now released to a few local guides, and once the company is ready, we will get the feature as well.
The Wall Street Journal got early access to the feature, and the publication tested it. The app has a special button that will activate the AR mode and open the camera. It will begin analyzing the surroundings according to the Street View data, and then it will begin showing arrows over the real world to guide you to your destination. It is a good feature if you cannot make sense of the 2D map and if the GPS doesn’t work well. Adding the virtual signs on the top of the buildings in AR mode will help people commute faster.
AR Mode Not Meant to Replace 2D
But AR mode is not meant to replace the primary navigation system, as it is limited only to areas that have enabled Street View.
Google Maps also recommends users to use the 2D navigation so that they don’t get distracted, as the Wall Street Journal reported seeing the message on their early access AR mode: “For your safety, keep your phone down while you walk,” and to be alert so that it won’t lead to accidents.
The mode is great when using it hands-free with AR glasses on the car navigation system, but Google will have to continue its tests before releasing it to the public.