What is Google Maps AR Navigation and Live View and how to use it?
This page was translated using AI and machine learning.
(Pocket-lint) – Google Maps AR navigation was first demoed at Google I/O in 2018, then teased in early 2019 before seeing wider availability in August 2019.
Originally called Google Maps AR, the system now appears on compatible devices as Live View, but it’s the same overall feature, just labeled as Live View in Google Maps on your phone.
What is Google Maps AR/Live View?
Google Maps AR or Live View is designed to let you use augmented reality to help you navigate when you’re walking. What does that mean ? It uses the camera on the back of the phone to identify where you are, overlaying direction and details on the screen, rather than just presenting you with a map.
AI identifies what you can see, while GPS helps you position yourself on the map. Ultimately, Google Maps Live View gets around the problem of not knowing which way to walk, because the AI can tell you which way to go so you’re heading in the right direction.
How to find Google Maps Live View?
The Live View feature is easy to find in Google Maps, but it only works with walking directions:
- Find a destination you want to walk to.
- Make sure you have selected walking.
- Tap the “Live View” button at the bottom of the page.
- Tilt your phone up to look through it to see AR view.
How to Use Google Maps Live View
Once you press the button, the best route will be calculated as normal, with graphics showing you that the AR Live View system is working. Normal voice prompts start, but you’re prompted to raise your phone to use augmented reality features. If you keep your phone flat, you won’t see this view, but you can force it to appear by tapping the pointer icon in the lower left corner.
Google Maps will attempt to identify what’s around you by analyzing what your camera sees and comparing it to Street View imagery. This is done in the upper part of the screen, while the lower part of the screen shows the normal running instructions.
If you point in the wrong direction, Google Maps AR will show you either a huge arrow pointing you another way, or a small indicator at the edge of the screen. Move your phone to see what the indicator tells you and go.
Google Maps Live View shows you road names and distances in AR, as well as major turns, so you stay in the right direction.
However, to see directions in AR, you have to raise your phone and point it at the street in front of you – and you can’t walk like that. You will receive a warning prompting you to put down your phone. If you don’t, Maps will blank the screen until you do.
If there is no Google Street View in your area, AR navigation will not work.
When was Google Maps Live View launched?
Google Maps Live View was launched in 2019 for phones that support ARkit (Apple) or ARCore (Android). We’ve mostly seen it on Pixel devices and some other Android phones don’t support it. You will likely need to check each individual phone to see if you have compatibility.
Written by Chris Hall.