Google’s improved Live View allows people to explore their city better than ever before via AR
Google Maps is still the only map service to offer augmented reality navigation — which the company calls “Live View” — and now that feature is getting even better. At Google I/O today, the company announced updates to the augmented reality-driven feature in Google Maps including prominent virtual street signs and support for indoor buildings.
The first big improvement is Live View will soon be accessible directly from the Maps’ main menu — in the past, it was a multi-step process. Once Live View is on, the user will be able to explore their real-world surroundings through the phone’s viewfinder, with helpful information overlaid in augmented reality. Google says the information will be more dynamic, including prominent virtual street signs to navigate complex intersections, and if you pass by a landmark, you can expect to see an AR overlay highlighting the location too. Since the user can turn on Live View anytime now, this makes for a fun city exploring tool even if the person is not exactly looking for a specific spot. Google Maps will integrate third-party services such as Yelp to show reviews of restaurants nearby too.
As mentioned, you can use Live View indoors to navigate complicated buildings too. The first cities to support the new Live View will be Zurich this week, followed by Tokyo next month.