Google maps: Google Maps AR-powered navigation testing starts

At Google I/O 2018, the search giant showcased an augmented reality (AR)-powered navigation system for Google Maps. Now reports suggest that the company is testing the feature with a small group of Local Guides.

The Wall Street Journal got hands-on experience of the upcoming feature. In an article, "It’s the Real World—With Google Maps Layered on Top", he has described how the feature works. Describing his experience, he wrote, "It was as if Maps had drawn my directions onto the real world, though nobody else could see them." The AR-based navigation system uses smartphone's camera, a la Google Lens, to give directions. This primarily means that Google Maps combines Street View and data from Maps using smartphone’s camera for easier and better navigation. The feature is claimed to offer better navigation and identification of nearby places. Users just need to point their camera in a direction, and Google will pair AI with Street View data to offer an interactive, turn-by-turn navigation experience while on the move.

As to how to get started, just hit the Start AR button. Once done, the Google Maps will guide you. The AR system asks the user to move his/her phone around to determine the exact location. One can also hold the phone up and Google Maps gives actual directions.

However, users need not look at their smartphones constantly. As it's not just a great idea, but also may be dangerous. The system too reportedly warns users against this. This means users can use the AR mode to check for turns and then put the phone down till the next one. This feature is also claimed to help users save the battery. Google also cautions that the feature is to be used for directions while walking and not to be used while driving, due to obvious distractions. 

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