In May, Google showed an innovative navigation system that took advantage of the phone's camera to provide augmented reality GPS guidance. Although the demonstration was very promising, the function was not expected to be available immediately, even for testing. However, the company is now allowing selected people, mostly local guides with access to a preliminary version of Maps, to use the feature, and David Pierce of the Wall Street Journal was among the lucky ones who tried it for the first time.
We all walked for what seemed like miles in the wrong direction before realizing that our phone's compass skyrocketed and drove us the wrong way. These days are almost over, since Google's AR-based targeting is gradually making its way into our lives. Although the version that tested the WSJ is not definitive, it helps us to have a better idea of what is to come.
The future version of the Maps application will allow you to access a special AR mode through a dedicated button or by lifting your phone. Initially you will be asked to move your phone so that it can recognize the surrounding landmarks and compare them with the location of the GPS and the compass data. The application will show the entry of your camera on your screen and the overlapping arrows pointing to your destination. A traditional map will still be displayed at the bottom of the screen so you can have a panoramic view of where you are going. Google does not expect you to use this function in the whole guide, but you want it to navigate complex intersections more easily. If you continue walking with the camera pointing to the street, the application will eventually ask you to place the device to save battery, since it is assumed that you should only use it sparingly.
Although this feature seems to be exclusive for pedestrian directions for now, I would love to use it while driving. In fact, I have become so used to the new MBUX based on AR of Mercedes-Benz (which can be seen below) that I can not imagine returning to a traditional navigation system. I think Google will work on additional security features before it allows you to use this on your mobile, since you probably will not want you to hold the phone while driving.
We look forward to seeing this deployment to the masses, and we will let you know as soon as it can turn around.