Google Maps AR navigation feature now available for some users

Google Maps AR navigation feature is now being tested

Google, which will need to conduct additional testing on the AR navigation feature, is only rolling out this update to Local Guides (community viewers) for now.

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.

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. "It was as if Maps had drawn my directions onto the real world, though nobody else could see them".

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The AR-based navigation system uses smartphone's camera, a la Google Lens, to give directions.

"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 is claimed to offer better navigation and identification of nearby places. The upper two-thirds of the display within the app shows you the live feed from your camera; then overlays for street names, business names, and directional areas are presented that point to your intended destination. As to how to get started, just hit the Start AR button. Even so, the new interface won't allow you to continually use the camera for AR, and will insist that you lower the phone, where the more traditional map interface will then be displayed. Once done, the Google Maps will guide you. As it's not just a great idea, but also may be risky. To ensure it doesn't consume your battery and data allowance-and for safety reasons-users will be reminded to lower their phone if it's been held up too long. You can't use the AR view consistently; the app will ask you to put the phone down after awhile. The idea is to help users with short-term directions.

The feature isn't meant to be used for lengthy periods.

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