Google announced it is introducing augmented reality features to the Google Maps application on Pixel smartphones.
The search giant will take advantage of augmented reality to make user navigation more interactive. In a short clip provided by Google on its official blog, the application will overlay graphics including the names of streets and the directions towards people's destination on top of images captured by the handset's camera. Meanwhile, the bottom half of the screen is occupied by user elements that show the orientation of the user and the surrounding streets.
Google highlights several benefits of using augmented reality for navigational purposes. With the use of AR, the search giant noted that Google Maps could more accurately direct people to the correct street or road so that users can reach their destinations faster.
However, before users can take full advantage of Google Maps' augmented reality feature, users must be in well-lit areas that are already covered by Street View, and the smartphones should have a consistent connection to the mobile data network.
Google further stated that its latest feature is now rolling out to Pixel Phones, and it is likely that the search giant will deploy its most recent feature in stages. However, it did not provide a timeline regarding the exact timeframe of the feature deployment, nor did it supply information on whether this feature will appear to Android smartphones manufactured by other tech firms shortly.
The addition of new augmented reality features is just one of the numerous functionalities that Google introduced recently into Google Maps. Last month, Google introduced a new feature that made it easier for drivers to search and locate electric vehicle charging stations. This functionality also reveals additional information about these charging stations, including the number, charging speed, and types of charging ports present in the station.
Meanwhile, Google rolled out the personalized "For You" tab to more countries around the world late last year. The new "For You" tab shows lists of restaurants and other similar establishments that may appeal to consumers based on their preferences and the reviews received by the recommended establishments.
As part of its latest Google I/O event, the search giant launched a variety of augmented reality features that enrich the content consumption experience of users. The tech firm recently launched a functionality that converts search experiences to augmented reality exhibits. For example, once users search about great white sharks, they will be treated with augmented reality demonstrations that provide additional information about these organisms. These augmented reality features will likely extend to other applications and services by the search giant, and Google will likely utilize these functionalities as well to develop targeted advertising.
Aside from augmented reality features, Google also revealed other functionalities during the I/O 2019 event. Live Relay is a new feature that takes advantage of the search giant's expertise on machine learning to make smartphones more accessible by allowing deaf and mute individuals to make and receive voice calls. This functionality uses natural language technology from DeepMind to voice written messages, and it also incorporates Smart Compose and Smart Reply.