Google Maps Augmented Reality Feature Testing Commences For Selected Users

Google Maps AR mode can be more precise more useful than GPS

That means you can hold up your phone and Google Maps will overlay instructions onto the real world through your phone's camera.

Locations compatible with the new feature will have a new "Start AR" button alongside the standard "Directions".

Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, Google is making the feature available to a small subset of users.

Google reports that it can use visual recognition to help locate you, in addition to the normal network and Global Positioning System location finding. On top of that, your battery would drain really fast, so it's probably best to use the AR navigation feature in shorter intervals.

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Integrating this with Google Maps allow for augmented reality (AR) additions like floating arrows pointing you to the direction you need to head to. The app may in future use a combination of AI and AR technologies, combined with your phone's camera to aid in real-time location tracking.

Google Maps would then compare the buildings and landmarks with the Street View data it has gathered. The company has not officially announced when the AR feature will out to all Google Maps users, with WSJ saying this will only happen when the company is sure that the feature is "ready".

Engadget reports that Google Maps AR navigation is going to be rolling out to Local Guides first - i.e., those people who like to write reviews and submit them to Google Maps - and that the system still needs some testing before it will hit universal availability.

Something to look forward to: Have you ever found yourself frustrated with Google Maps, walking the wrong way when the blue dot thinks you're somewhere else? The system too reportedly warns users against this. The idea is to help users with short-term directions. The company originally introduced the AR navigation feature at a developers conference a year ago.

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