Google Maps tests a faster way to start Live View AR navigation
Google Maps turned 15 earlier this year in February and the company celebrated its birthday by giving the app a new look and additional features. The app, both on Android and iOS, received a major update which included a new icon, a redesign for the bottom navigation bar, new transit features, and updates to Live View. For the unaware, Live View in Google Maps is an augmented reality feature that lets you view your surroundings in real-time with overlays highlighting the directions to your destination. In the anniversary update, Google added a new capability in Live View which lets you search for a destination on the app and see exactly how far, and in which direction, the place is. The company also revealed that it had plans to expand Live View functionality even further in the coming months.
Now, as per a recent report from 9to5Google, the company has already started testing a new feature in Live View which will give users faster access to AR navigation. Currently, in order to access Live View in Google Maps, you first have to initiate walking directions in the app and then hit the Live View button to open the camera-based UI. While this may seem easy enough for many of us, Live View still doesn’t have a prominent place in the app and it can easily be missed by people who aren’t familiar with the feature. To remedy this, Google is now testing a new Live View floating action button (FAB) which appears right above the existing button that helps you center yourself on the map.
As you can see in the attached screenshots, the new Live View FAB appears right as soon as you search for a location in Google Maps. Tapping on the button opens up the camera interface to show “how far away and in which direction a place is” from your current position. The UI has an arrow that prompts you to move your phone and shows the end destination as a floating pin in the distance. Once you’ve located the destination, a card at the bottom allows you to start the AR-guided navigation.
Making Live View more prominent and easier to use increases the likelihood of more people using the feature in Google Maps. It also allows you to get oriented without starting the full navigation first. However, you’ll have to wait a while before you can use the new Live View FAB on your device as the feature is currently only available for a handful of users in beta and Google has released no information regarding a wider rollout.