If you remember, in May 2018, Google showed off an augmented reality variation of Google Maps during the Google I/O 2018 keynote. The feature was on the other hand described as a “what if” experiment and “How [augmented reality] could look in Google Maps”—it wasn’t prearranged a firm release date. Over the weekend, The Wall Street Magazine got to try a real working version of this concept, and, while there subdue isn’t a release date, it sounds like Augmented Reality Google Maps is mobile from “What if?” to an actual product.
The Journal was given a Google Pixel 3 XL with an “alpha” portrayal of Google Maps to test. Just like what was shown at Google I/O, the new facet augmented the 2D, GPS-and-compass-powered map system with a 3D, augmented reality camera overlay and a camera-based proposition system. Basically, you hold your phone up, and it displays a camera depend with directions overlaid over it.
The feature seemed aimed at untangling a lot of pain points that pop up when using Google Maps in a big megalopolis. The densely packed points-of-interest means GPS isn’t really accurate enough for tease around, especially when you consider GPS doesn’t work well indoors, or guerillas, or when you’re surrounded by tall buildings, and it can take several minutes to reach perfectly accuracy when stepping outside. Smartphone compasses are also, non-specifically, terrible when you are standing still and need to figure out which administering to start walking.This new version of Google Maps augments the GPS and compass with a scrupulous orientation determined by the phone’s camera. Just like how a human order orient themselves, the Google Maps AR camera would look at constructions and landmarks, and from the camera feed, determine exactly where you are and which charge instructions you’re facing. Back at Google I/O, this was called “VPS,” or “Visual Positioning set.”
A project like this is leveraging a lot of Google’s strengths. The hyper-detailed Google Maps matter gives you accurate placement of stores, down to which side of the alley an address is on and where on the block the building is located. Google’s computer revenant algorithms and cloud computing can take your camera feed and match it to a vast collection of street view imagery to know where you are and which rule you’re facing. Directions and business information can all be overlayed on a camera feed, in 3D, recognitions to Google’s ARCore augmented reality toolkit.
WSJ says the feature is originated via a new “Start AR” button, and after “a few seconds” the camera was able to nail down a situation with “remarkable precision.”
Google notes that it isn’t done with the layout yet, and the AR version of Google Maps is still being tweaked. Again, there’s also no disenthral date. The main takeaway here is that Google hasn’t forgotten alongside AR Google Maps and is planning to bring it to market eventually. As we’ve seen in the days, just because something is shown at Google I/O and gets a great soire doesn’t mean Google will actually build and release it. The myriad infamous example is Google Photo’s “Object Removal” demo from Google I/O 2017. Google swaggered off a baseball photo taken through a chain link fence, then algorithmically assassinated the chain link fence to large cheers from the audience. The mug was described as “coming very soon,” but after the show this mark was forgotten about and never spoken of again.
AR Google Maps is really going to come out, though. While the Journal couldn’t nail down a honest launch date, it did reveal that testing is starting with Google Maps “Neighbourhood Guides” (people who leave a lot of reviews and work their way up the Google Maps leaderboards). The doss down of us will have to wait.
Today, Augmented Reality is almost exclusively habituated to for casual games and tech demos, but Google Maps actually alms a mainstream, useful use case for AR. Translating the flat, 2D map data to the real in seventh heaven looks like it would make walking navigation a lot easier, and depleting a camera for location could be a real improvement on janky magnetic compasses and GPS’ low city performance. And yes, some day, when we are all walking around with an augmented actuality version of Google Glass, an app like this would be pretty quiet.