- Google is toying with adding augmented reality to its Maps app to improve navigation.
- The AR functionality uses the camera on your smartphone to tell you which direction to walk.
- Google even added a “helpful guide” in the shape of an excitable fox – but it isn’t clear if this feature will actually make it to Google Maps.
Google just showed off a new augmented-reality feature on its Maps app.
The company’s developers have been playing with ideas to help orient people better when they are using Google Maps to navigate to their destination.
The AR functionality, which Google showcased at its I/O developers conference on Tuesday, uses the camera on your smartphone to tell you which direction to walk.
In a demo video shown by Google Vice President Aparna Chennapragada, the user’s path is lighted with arrows that flash green when you need to change direction. It also shows you nearby places, such as bars and restaurants.
“You instantly know where you are,” Chennapragada said. “No fussing with the phone. The street names, the directions, right there in front of you.”
She added that “just for fun,” Google has been “playing with the idea of adding a helpful guide” – in this case, an excitable fox who bounds in the direction you need to walk.
Chennapragada did not say if the AR feature was simply an experiment or if it will be released to users. It was popular with delegates at the I/O conference, however, with Chennapragada’s demo receiving cheers and applause.
You can watch the Google AR demo here: