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11 February 2019, 06:26 | Casey Mitchell
Google Maps Starts Testing AR-Powered Navigation
The feature doesn't look too different from the one Googlepreviewed for developers last May, with Maps appearing on the lower half of the phone's screen as the top half navigates the user's real-world surroundings.
A year ago at Google I/O, Google previewed a new navigation system within Google Maps that uses AR to guide you to places.
According to David Pierce of the WSJ who tried out the system, the app starts scanning what it sees when you turn on the AR option in the Google Maps app and point your phone at what you see.
He described how the feature worked - the app picks up a person's location via Global Positioning System (GPS), and then uses Street View data to narrow it down to the exact location.
Google gave The Wall Street Journal early access access to the AR mode feature, and the publication took it for a spin to test out its capabilities. It provides navigation via a layer of augmented reality, plastered over actual reality as seen through your phone's camera.
As neat as all of this is, WSJ notes that Google doesn't want this AR navigation to be people's primary way of getting around. After it has done this, it then creates directions for the user based on the location. The Wall Street Journalreports that it will be available to Local Guides soon, and "will come to everyone only when Google is satisfied that it's ready".
No dates have been set for making it widely available to Map users.
If the user has asked for directions, big arrows showing the user the direction to walk in is overlaid on the buildings on screen.
Tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Google, North, Vuzix and others have all been working on, or are selling their own AR glasses, meaning that Google's new feature could eventually make its way into your line of sight, the report added.
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