Google showcased the implementation of augmented reality in Google Maps 2018 during Google I/O. The features showed how, in the future, phones could use the camera to orient users. During the demo, Google showed off an advanced navigation system that could direct users and use pop-ups to show businesses and shops nearby. Google Maps also added an energetic fox guide.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the demo is “an early version of Maps with augmented reality (AR)”. Nevertheless, the new feature is not too different from the previous one Google showcased for developers in May 2018, which showed the map on the lower side of the screen while the top-half navigates the real world surrounding of the user.
Google has also made some small modifications to the blinking arrow system, which direct users to turn.
There are also a few new details about this demo version of the feature, noted Journal’s David Pierce. For instance, as soon as the AR version of Maps oriented itself on the basis of the surrounding world, and directed Pierce to the right way, the app prompted Pierce to keep his phone down while he was walking in order to not to walk into a passerby.
Rachel Inman, UX design lead at Google, said the new features should be used more by users to explore new places, as was quoted by The Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, the guide fox was nowhere to be seen on the app when The Journal tested it.
Google’s Aparna Chennapragada, during the Google I/O, observed that the project’s team was exploring the “idea” of introducing digital guides.
According to the Journal, one version of the Maps had an “animated guide named Pizza Man”, however, the Journal noted that this made users look int their phones more.
Ergo, it remains to be seen if Google would implement digital guides in the future.
While a small, select group of users test the AR version of the Maps, it can be said with certainty that the feature is not going to release any time soon, the Journal noted. It is also being speculated that the feature could see some changes.