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One of the best Google Maps features just got even better

Published Mar 16th, 2020 7:40AM EDT
Google Maps Directions
Image: XanderSt/Shutterstock

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  • One of Google Maps’ best features has received a new update that will let users access it faster than ever.
  • Announced a few weeks ago, the feature concerns Live View, a Google Maps navigation for walking that uses real-time imagery for the camera to direct users to the desired destination.
  • The new feature is now in testing and can be accessed right from the main screen of Google Maps.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Google Maps has many handy features to enhance your navigation experience, and some of them can be helpful during the current coronavirus crisis. The app will allow business owners to update the information that shows up in Maps as frequently as needed, and it’ll help you order food online to avoid getting out of the house, assuming those restaurants will continue to operate during the weeks ahead. By the way, the app also has a nice feature that lets you locate only restaurants that fit your preferences. Google is now updating Maps to improve one of the latest and most exciting features it developed for Maps. However, the feature might not come in handy during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it requires going out of the house.

Social distancing and increased personal hygiene are the two simple things everyone can do to limit the spread of the virus. Staying home is crucial to prevent infections or transmitting the virus to anyone else. And if you’re staying put, you won’t really need to search for new places to drive or walk to.

That’s why you might not even notice the Live View upgrade that Google has just delivered. If you have no idea what Live View is, that may be because the feature is harder to find if you don’t know it exists.

With Live View, you can use the phone’s primary camera to see your surroundings while in the app, with directions to your destinations appearing directly on top of the live feed. That’s a great use of augmented reality (AR), and it’s a feature that should significantly improve navigation inside Maps when you’re walking in an unfamiliar neighborhood or visiting a new city. Again, it’s advisable to limit travel to necessities, which means you might not use Live View anytime soon.

Image source: Google

But once things get better you should remember than Live View will be easier to access than ever before. 9to5Google explains that you’ll now find a Live View virtual button placed right on top of the button that centers you on the map, as seen in the animation above. Just tap it after you’ve searched or selected a location, and the app will start Live View mode.

The camera view will tell you where you are relative to your destination and pinpoint it on a map. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the sort of Google Maps functionality that Google teased a few weeks ago when it rolled out a massive makeover to Maps to celebrate the service’s 15th anniversary.

The feature is now in testing, so you might see it appear on your phone without warning. Live View is available on both Android and iPhone, so both devices should get it soon.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.